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Grandmother finds important help with Johnson City Press Christmas Box

John Thompson • Nov 30, 2019 at 11:00 PM

Janie — not her real name — thought her days of raising children were finished when her youngest daughter left the house more than a dozen years ago.

Now, Janie is raising her daughter’s three children. Her plans of finally slowing down and enjoying a bit of retirement did not come true. She is back to being a full-time parent to two boys and a girl, even to the point of having custody over the children.

“There are lots of grandparents raising their grandchildren,” Janie said. “It is usually caused by the same thing: drugs.”

Janie is raising three children ranging in age from just out of the toddler stage to getting ready to enter high school. But things are different now — for one thing, she wasn’t the sole breadwinner when she raised her own children.

Her husband, Kevin, worked hard and the bills were always paid, and the children always received nice presents and meals for Christmas and birthdays. But Kevin’s days of hard work finally proved too much for his body. He is now disabled.

“He is a proud man and he hates that he cannot bring in money for the family, Janie said.

But Janie is not able to bring in a lot of money either.

She works as a part-time caretaker for some elderly people. Her hours are always unpredictable and she rarely gets 40 hours a week for all the people she does work with.

She is fortunate that her oldest grandchild helps with caring for the boy — and is getting pretty good in the kitchen.

Somehow, despite the unpredictable hours and pay, she has managed to keep the family afloat and fed, but it has always been tight, with room for no extras. That’s why the Johnson City Press Christmas Box and the Salvation Army Christmas Angel program seem like such fantastic blessings to the family.

The Christmas Box provides not just one feast, but a lot of other delicious and healthy meals that the children seldom get for the rest of the year. The Angel Tree provides them with gifts they would never even imagine getting.

“Like all kids, they would like some electronic toys, but I can’t buy that for them,” she said. But what is most important is the warm weather clothing her children desperately need right now.

For those who wish to help the many local parents and seniors who struggle for food throughout the year and even more at Christmas, donations to the Johnson City Press Christmas Box are tax deductible, and can be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN, 37605.

Because the Johnson City Press covers all administrative costs for the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to buy food.

A $35 donation to the Christmas Box will provide a large food box with all the makings of a Christmas 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 living alone or small household of one or two people.

More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the website or at the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook, or can be obtained by contacting Senior Reporter Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] or 423-722-0538.

The Christmas Box food distribution is conducted in partnership with the Johnson City Salvation Army Angel Tree shopping adoption program for children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties. Angel Tree shopping adoptions kicked off Thursday, Nov. 21, at The Mall at Johnson City and Friday, Nov. 22 at the Elizabethton Walmart. For more information about the Angel Tree, call the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101.

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