Their mother has multiple sclerosis and depends on a walker to get around. Their dad has dementia and cannot be left alone.
Patty does their housework, shopping, cooking and errands and her brother takes care of their laundry and the heavier odd jobs around their home in Jonesborough.
“It’s hard, but we do the best we can,” Patty said. “We’re trying to keep them at home.”
Together, the couple draws less than $1,200 a month in Social Security so Patty helps with their household bills and food.
Her brother stayed with them the afternoon Patty came to sign them up for the Johnson City Press Christmas Box grocery shopping gift certificate that will provide some extra things for their holidays.
“It will go on their groceries. Whatever they get will help,” she said.
“At Christmas, since we were kids, my mother always wants to host dinner so we squeeze in there. Or, if I can, I cook and take a lot of it in. We have other siblings but they all have their own obligations. And we’re still talking about if her sister can come.
“I’m with them nine hours a day and my brother spends the nights. I rarely see my husband but I do what I can do. And my brother does what he can do. We do what we can.”
Now in its 38th season, the Christmas Box provides all the makings of a Christmas dinner and several additional meals for families of three or more people and $35 in grocery shopping gift certificates for seniors who live alone and for small households of one or two people.
The food distribution is made possible entirely by monetary gifts from individuals, churches, businesses and clubs, grocers and food producers who donate or discount their products for the Christmas Box, and several key project partners, including Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Tennessee.
For those who wish to help with the distribution, the Christmas Box is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.
Because the Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs for the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to purchase food.
Donations may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605.
More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the website or at the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or may be obtained by calling Press Staff Writer Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538.