Christmas gift giving for area children, teens and seniors in need dashing to completion

Sue Guinn Legg • Dec 12, 2018 at 8:49 PM

The charitable giving season is in its final days with three of the community’s largest Christmas gift distributions for low-income children, teens, seniors and families set to play out Friday through Tuesday.

At the Johnson City Salvation Army on Wednesday, Capt. Laura Cox reported that, for the third consecutive year, an area business that wishes to remain anonymous has come to the rescue of close to 300 forgotten Angel Tree children in Washington, Carter and Unicoi counties whose gifts were not returned to the Angel Trees.

The company began shopping for the forgotten children on Tuesday, beginning with nearly 100 kids in Carter County, where the Angel Tree and Johnson City Press Christmas Box food distribution will be conducted Friday.

As volunteers pack the last of gift boxes for Carter County, the company will continue shopping for approximately 175 forgotten children in Washington and Unicoi counties in advance of the two-county Angel Tree and Christmas Box distribution Tuesday at the Appalachian Fairgrounds.

For others who wish to help, the Salvation Army remains in need of warm winter clothing, shoes, coats and toys for children from birth to age 12 to supplement gift boxes for children whose essential needs and Christmas wishes were not met by Angel Tree shoppers.

Donated gifts for the children may be dropped off at the Salvation Army office at 204 W. Walnut St. through Monday. Cox said the recent winter storm has taken a toll on the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle bell-ringing campaign as well. He encouraged those who wish to help to give at the kettle stations at area shopping centers or volunteer to help ring bells by calling the Salvation Army at 423-926-2101.

At Good Samaritan Ministries, work on its drive to provide Christmas clothing, gifts and toys for 1,000 low-income children, teens and seniors is also continuing.

On Wednesdyay, Executive Director Aaron Murphy said the ministry was still approximately $17,000 short of its goal to provide an outfit of winter clothing, coats, shoes, toys and age-appropriate gifts for every child and teen on its list, and shopping bags loaded with comfort items for every senior; and approximately $10,000 short of meeting the cost of a large holiday food box for every family and a fully prepared holiday dinner for every senior.

Good Samaritan’s gift distribution for children and teens will be held Friday and Saturday and its food and senior gift distribution will be conducted Dec. 19-20.

For those who wish to help, a $150 sponsorship donation will provide a complete package of Christmas clothing, and nice gift or toy for one child or teen. A $35 donation earmarked for “Christmas food” will provide a holiday food box or a fully prepared, family-sized holiday meal for one family or one senior or homebound adult. Donations of any amount to Good Samaritan earmarked for a child or teen or for Christmas food may be made online at goodsamjc.org or by mail to P.O. Box 2441.

Individual items still needed for Good Samaritan’s Christmas distribution, including gifts cards for teens, clothing, shoes and toys for children age 12 and younger, and hams to complete family food boxes, may be made at Good Samaritan at 100 N. Roan St., from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. through Friday.

Quietly working to meet the needs of 260 teens and children not included in any other local Christmas outreach, Seasons of Hope volunteers are likewise rushing to wrap up Christmas in advance of its annual Secret Santa party on Sunday.

Seasons of Hope’s focus is on teens who are left out of other Christmas projects and younger children with emergency needs that have fallen through the cracks. Its goal is to provide each with a new outfit of clothing, age appropriate gifts or toys, a stocking stuffed with treats selected by their parents or grandparents, blessing bags filled with paper products, toiletries and other essentials that cannot be purchased with food stamps and a voucher for a Christmas turkey for each of 60 families.

On Wednesday, Seasons of Hope was approximately $800 short of its drive for turkey vouchers and still without blessing bags for 30 families or any gifts at all for 30 teens and children.

For those who wish to help, a $150 sponsorship will provide a complete Christmas gift package for one teen or child. Donations may be made online at www.seasonsofhopetn.com, or at the Rose Hill Weddings ballroom on Library Lane behind Munsey Memorial United Methodist Church. Donations of new clothing, shoes, coats, toys, gift cards or age-appropriate gifts for teens may be dropped off at the ballroom through early Sunday afternoon.

Volunteers who wish to help wrap gifts may come to ballroom Thursday from noon-3 and 5-7 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from 10-noon; or to help with the Secret Santa party, Sunday beginning at 3 p.m. More information about the project may be obtained by calling Seasons of Hope at 423-724-7398.


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