Christmas helpers rushing to wrap up a merrier holiday for local children in need

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Dec 6, 2019 at 5:03 PM

Johnson City’s Seasons of Hope is in urgent need of help with Christmas turkeys and hams for low-income working families on its Secret Santa list.

Designed for families, single parents and grandparents who earn just enough to disqualify their children for other holiday outreach programs, the Secret Santa project offers would-be helpers a number of ways to chip in.

For turkeys and hams, Executive Director Katy Keen said grocery gift cards may be dropped off at the Summit Leadership office on Hanover Road or monetary donations may be made through PayPal to [email protected], by texting SeasonsOfHope to 44-321 or through the link on the Seasons of Home Inc. Facebook page. Donation receipts are available.

Seasons of Hope’s focus is on families that don’t meet the standard guidelines for assistance from other agencies and families who have fallen on hard times. Its Secret Santa project operated on the premise that every child deserves to wake up on Christmas morning to a gift under the tree and food on the table. The program aspires to give each child or teenager gifts and clothing, and a holiday meal, a blessing bag on one Christmas wish to their family. Family wishes may range from new sheets to new tires or to a Christmas tree.

Secret Santa families are available for adoption at www.seasonsofhopetn.org. To learn more about how to make a contribution or to adopt a family, contact Katy at [email protected]

Less than a week away from its annual Shopping 4 Others outing, Coalition for Kids needs your help.

An impactful way to ensure the most needy children in the Coalition for Kids after-school program have a few basic necessities during the holidays and a chance to share in the gift giving, the special night of shopping allows each of up to 200 children to purchase a coat, shoes, an outfit of clothing and a toy for themselves, and one additional gift for someone they love. Children taking part in the program are identified by their need and not included in any other Christmas gift giving outreach.

Child shopping sponsorships and volunteer shopping chaperones are still needed. To share the joy of Christmas with the poorest of the poor at Coalition for Kids, donations of any amount, or a $100 sponsorship to meet the entire cost of Shopping for Others for one child, may be made at coalitionforkids.org, at the Coalition’s community center at 2423 Susannah St., or by mail to Coalition for Kids, P.O. Box 3156, Johnson City, TN 37602. Volunteer application forms are available at the website and must be turned in by Monday, Dec. 9.

The Erwin Kiwanis Club will make its annual Christmas Shopping Tour with more than 175 Unicoi County children in need Saturday at the Walmart store in Unicoi and is continuing to gather last-minute donations and volunteers to help with the shopping.

Designed for Unicoi County schoolchildren who will have little else for Christmas, the annual shopping tour is a tradition dating back to the mid-1960s. Founded by Erwin Jaycees and later adopted by the Erwin Kiwanis Club, the project has endured with support from numerous Erwin area businesses, churches and other organizations that appreciate its ability to help underserved children have a happier Christmas

Donations to support the project may be made by mail to the Erwin Kiwanis Foundation, P.O. Box 207, Erwin, TN 37650. Volunteer shopping chaperones should arrive at the store between 7:30-8 a.m. For more information, contact Bill Gaines at 423-341-3023 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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