KINGSPORT — The Salvation Army of Kingsport distributed gifts Thursday to families of about 3,500 children serviced by the organization’s Angel Tree program this year — as well as giving out food vouchers to households assisted by the Kingsport Times-News Rescue Fund.
The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program pairs children in need with donors who “adopt” them through a sort of “secret Santa” process.
This year’s effort kicked off in mid-November with about 3,500 “angels” on Christmas trees at area businesses.
By Dec. 8, paper angels representing the Christmas wishes of more than 800 area children remained on trees. When the original deadline for returning gifts arrived a week ago, about 200 angels were not yet adopted.
The deadline was extended two days, but it didn’t take that long for the last angels to get adopted once the deficit was publicized.
This year the Salvation Army had a list of more than 2,200 families who need help getting a little extra food on the table for Christmas.
That assistance comes through the Rescue Fund, which provides food vouchers through donations from Times-News readers.
The dollar amount of food vouchers typically ranges from $20 to $55, based on the size of the family. That amount could go as high as $60 this year
Most families served by the Rescue Fund range from three to four members. Last year, a family of three received a voucher for $25, while a family of four got a voucher worth $30.
It’s intended to help supplement food for the holidays. Without help from the Rescue Fund these families would not have anything extra for Christmas, said Salvation Army officials who work with the newspaper on the effort.
“We’re proud, and privileged, to provide the means for Tri-Cities residents to reach out to those needy families,” Times-News Managing Editor Ted Como said in November. “We’ve talked to these families and you’ll be reading about some of them. What most tugs at the heart is their common attitude that they will make do, they will get by somehow, that they will see to it their children don’t go hungry.”
This year’s Rescue Fund campaign is ongoing.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Times-News Rescue Fund at P.O. Box 479, Kingsport, Tenn. 37662.