For many families across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, food is never abundant. Not even at Thanksgiving or Christmas. This holiday season brings no relief from a daily concern: having enough food to get through the month, the week or even the day.
The Times News Rescue Fund aims to provide some of these folks with extra food for Christmas. This year’s Rescue Fund fundraising campaign begins today. Over the coming weeks, the Times News will publish stories sharing many of these families’ struggles.
No contribution is too small. Every penny helps the less fortunate in our region.
“The Times-News is privileged to conduct the program. But it is our readers who make it possible,” said Times News Publisher Rick Thomason. “Each year our readers open their hearts and their wallets to help brighten Christmas for some of the region’s neediest families.”
A bit more food may not sound like it makes a great difference, but the Rescue Fund also reminds these families they have not been forgotten by the community.
Times News Content Director Stephanie McClellan, who heads the Rescue Fund, said the effort’s main goal is to offer hope to those who are struggling during the holidays.
“We are grateful that the economy has improved over the last couple of years, but the fact is there are still thousands of our neighbors in this region who are doing without some of life’s basic necessities: adequate clothing, shelter and food,” McClellan said. “Over the next few weeks, the Times News will tell you about some of these families in need. We hope these stories will be a link between those who help and those who need help.”
Last year’s goal was $60,000, and the Times News has set the same goal for this year’s Rescue Fund.
“Last year we didn’t quite make our goal, but we know we can count on the tremendous generosity of our community and our readers to come through this year so that we can meet or exceed it,” McClellan said.
As with any program of this type, success is dependent on the caring and charity of those who contribute to help the less fortunate, Thomason said..
“Through the years we have found that in most cases, the families have been left in need because of some tragic misfortune — often illness,” he said. “The Rescue Fund can’t change their circumstances directly, but it can provide some food, and more importantly, it shows that someone cares.”
The Rescue Fund serves families in Scott County, Virginia, and, in Tennessee, the western end of Sullivan County and Hawkins County.
All donations will be listed in the newspaper, although donors may choose to remain anonymous. Many who have donated to the Rescue Fund through the years have done so in memory of a loved one.
Donations to the Rescue Fund are used to provide boxes of food or grocery gift cards. Rescue Fund families are screened by social services agencies in Virginia and by the Salvation Army in its service area of Tennessee.
“The Rescue Fund raises the quality of the food we are able to provide to these families,” said Kingsport Salvation Army Major Jayne May. “They’re able to have a Christmas dinner including items most of us associate with a traditional Christmas meal, rather than a sandwich or snack foods. A wonderful thing about the Rescue Fund is it a a great partnership. It’s what community is all about.”
“The Rescue Fund allows 1,000 families in our region to have a more joyful Christmas,” Major Joe May said. “We wouldn’t be able to help them nearly as much without the generous support of Times News readers.”
The Rescue Fund also gives the Salvation Army more flexibility to direct resources it would otherwise be using to conduct its own food drive, May said.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Times-News Rescue Fund, 701 Lynn Garden Dr., Kingsport, TN, 37660.