Operation Christmas Child shoe box collection wrapping up; Seasons of Hope in need of Secret Santa helpers

Sue Guinn Legg • Nov 21, 2019 at 10:10 PM

This year’s Operation Christmas Child collection of gift filled shoe boxes for impoverished children around the world will wrap up on Monday, Nov. 25, at drop-off sites across the Tri-Cities.

This year’s OCC goal for the greater Johnson City area was 41,227 shoe boxes packed with small toys, school supplies and personal hygiene items. The local boxes will be added the total of 11 million shoe boxes that will be distributed internationally by the Samaritan’s Purse relief ministry based in nearby Boone, North Carolina.

Drop-off locations include Heritage Baptist Church, 1512 John Exum Parkway, Johnson City; Trinity Baptist Church, 260 Headtown Road, Jonesborough; First Christian Church, 513 Hattie Ave., Elizabethton; and First Christian Church, 307 S. Main Ave., Erwin.

Drop-off hours vary by location. For collection hours and additional drop-off locations, visit samaritanspurse.org/operation-christmas-child/drop-off-locations.

Seasons of Hope is in need of volunteers to help in its largest outreach of the year — a Secret Santa distribution of gifts and food for low-income working families with underserved teens and children who do not qualify for other holiday distributions.

Seasons of Hope founder and Executive Director Katy Keen said the weeks of work that go into the Secret Santa project are the busiest time for the ministry and could not be accomplished without the help of volunteers.

For those who would like to join in the effort, there are several ways to help:

• Child, teen and family sponsors are needed. Secret Santa Trees loaded with name tags for children and teens in need of shopping adoption can be found at Starbucks locations across the street from the Mall at Johnson City on North Roan Street and on West State of Franklin Road near East Tennessee State University. Family sponsorships are available online at http;//www.roonga.com/ssp19.

• Volunteers hands are needed for Breakfast with Santa, Season of Hope’s only Secret Santa fundraiser, which is coming up Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Model City Center in Kingsport. Help will be needed with set up and decorating, cooking, serving, hostessing, cleanup, and assistance with holiday crafts for children. Students in need of community service hours are especially welcomed. To sign up, visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080848A9A82AABF85-breakfast.

• Gift-wrapping volunteers and a large crew of hands to help with the Secret Santa distribution party are also needed and encouraged to register at the website.

Keen said, “We need all the help that we can get and would appreciate any of your time that you're willing to donate to us. Every hour counts.”

Needed donations include:

• Meal sponsors to help feed the Secret Santa volunteers.

• Gift-wrapping supplies.

• Personal items for blessing bags for adults and teens.

• Christmas food box donations.

• Refreshments, Candy Land-themed decorations and “sensory area” items for the distribution party.

Monetary donations for the Secret Santa project can be made by texting SeasonsOfHope to 44-321; by mail to Seasons of Hope, P.O. Box 5633, Johnson City, TN 37602; or online at seasonsofhopetn.org. For more information contact Seasons of Hope at 423-724-7398 or [email protected]

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.

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