The two-county signup kicked off on Monday and will continue from 9 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. daily through Friday at the Salvation Army offices at 204 W. Walnut St. Carter County’s registration will follow the same time schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 22-23, at the National Guard Armory in Elizabethton.
Late Wednesday afternoon, with only two days remaining for residents in Washington and Unicoi counties to register, 203 families, including a total of 687 people and 372 children age 12 and under had signed up for help from the sister holiday projects.
Considering the 531 families, 1,162 children and approximately 2,100 individuals in Washington and Unicoi counties who were included in last year’s distribution, the numbers are expected to climb dramatically over the next two days.
For folks signing up, the Salvation Army requires a photo ID for the person registering, ID for everyone in the household over age 12, birth certificates and custody documents for children age 12 and under, proof of address, proof of income and proof of expenses, such as utility bills or a food stamp letter.
While the distribution will not take place until about a week before Christmas, those with children to register do have an early gift waiting for them at the signup.
The Christians In Action group founded by the late Johnson City businessman Ben Scharfstein is once again working a gift table near the registration checkout with free, age-appropriate books that tell the story of the first Christmas for every Angel Tree child registered. As Scharfstein wished, the books are to be given to the children now rather than at Christmas so that they will be familiar with the biblical story of Christ’s birth and the meaning of the holiday before it arrives.
Angel Tree children will be available for local holiday shoppers to add to their lists beginning in mid-November. And fundraising for the more than $60,000 cost of the Christmas Box food is already underway.
The food distribution includes every family with a child on the Angel Tree as well as more than 600 low-income seniors in the three-county area. For those who wish to contribute, a $35 donation will provide a ham, 10 pounds of fresh potatoes, 3 pounds of fresh onions, all the ingredients of a holiday meal and several additional meals for one family; or a $35 grocery shopping gift certificate for a senior living alone or a small household of one or two people.
Contributions may be made online at jcpchristmasbox.com or by mail to Johnson City Press Christmas Box, P.O. Box 1387, Johnson City, TN 37605. Because the newspaper pays all administrative costs of the project, 100 percent of all donations are used to purchase food.
More information about the Christmas Box can be found at the Johnson City Press Christmas Box page on Facebook or may be obtained by contacting Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] or 423-722-0538. More information about the local Angel Tree project is available at the Salvation Army Johnson City, TN page or Facebook or may be obtained by calling the Salvation Amry at 423-926-2101.
If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538, [email protected] or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.