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Great-grandmother's Christmas wishes are for her family

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 23, 2019 at 10:38 PM

Seventy-six years old and nearly blind, Wanda — not her real name — lives alone in low-income senior housing.

She gets by on $470 a month in Social Security Disability, $100 a month in food stamps and an occasional food box from the Assistance Resources Ministry of Carter County.

She plans to use the $35 grocery shopping gift certificate she will receive this year from the Johnson City Press Christmas Box to buy only the things she needs.

“I buy what I need and try to manage,’ she said affably. “I just buy my groceries and try to make it through the month. And sometimes I go to ARM.”

Wanda’s plans for Christmas were still up in the air when she came to register for the Christmas Box.

She has an invitation to eat with a neighbor. But there’s a chance one of her daughters may spend Christmas Day with herm and if she comes, her granddaughter and newborn great-granddaughter could be with her as well.

“My son may be home for Christmas,” she speculated. And then whispered, “He’s in jail. He supposed to get out but they may not let him out.”

Caught up in the thought of the holiday, Wanda ticked off a short list of essentials she was trying to come up with for others — a heater for someone she knows whose heat had gone out, a coat and shoes for her son and baby gifts for her new great-grandchild.

“My granddaughter couldn’t sign up (for gifts for the baby from the Salvation Army Angel Tree) because she works every day. She’s working now,” she said.

Asked again about her own Christmas, Wanda thoughts remained on her family as she responded, “I would like to shop for my grandkids, and my boy.”

For those who wish to help local seniors who, like Wanda, struggle for food throughout the year, a $35 donation to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box will provide a large food box with all the makings of a holiday dinner, a ham, 10 pounds of potatoes, 3 pounds of onions and more than 40 canned and packaged food items for a family of three or more people, or a $35 Food City gift certificate for a senior or small household of one or two people.

The Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs of the holiday food distribution and 100 percent of all Christmas Box donations are used to buy food. Donations are tax deductible and can 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 contacting Senior Reporter Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] or 423-722-0538.

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