Editor’s Note: The name of the Holiday Hope Fund recipient has been changed to protect the identity of the family.

The holiday season can be a stressful time. When two relatives in a family are facing terminal illnesses, it becomes overwhelming.

The Citizen Tribune Holiday Hope Fund can be a bridge to families need at a time of crisis, or to make Christmas a little easier.

Margie said her husband and father were both very ill and passed away one December.

“A few years ago, my husband and my father both passed away in the month of December, one before Christmas and one after Christmas,” Margie said. “Both of them were really sick. Naturally, we were not thinking about the holidays.”

Meanwhile, Margie’s children, ages nine and 12, still very much believed in Santa.

“We signed for the Holiday Hope Fund for the children,” Margie said. “It really helped us out a lot because it was one less thing we had to worry about. They were able to help my kids get the toys they wanted for Christmas without us having to go out to do any shopping.”

As part of the Citizen Tribune Holiday Hope Fund that year, Margie’s family received a Christmas box which included the ingredients for a meal.

“If it hadn’t been for the food basket, we wouldn’t have had Christmas,” she said. “It wasn’t just the financial aspect, but the stress aspect, too. We didn’t have to plan for that.”

At the time, the children didn’t know that their toys came from the Holiday Hope Fund. When Margie told them later, the children felt like they needed to give back for Morristown-Hamblen Central Service’s kindness to them during a trying time.

“The kids didn’t know at the time, but now that they are older, they want to come help with the packing and give back for what Central Services helped with a few years ago,” Margie said.

There is no question who Margie will make her charitable contributions to when the time comes.

“If I ever get financially stable, this is the only place I will donate to. I already give my household and clothing to them. One day, I hope to make a financial contribution.”

An estimated 1,500 families will get a Citizen Tribune Holiday Hope Fund food box including a turkey breast, fresh apples, oranges, potatoes, rolls, macaroni and cheese, brownie mix, sugar, flour, canned green beans, canned corn, canned peas and pinto beans. The box contains multiples of some of those items and the fresh produce comes bagged.

Toys will be given to young children of these families through the Angel Tree fund. Those wanting to continue to help a family can find Angel Trees at Walmart, Food City and other area businesses.

The Citizen Tribune Holiday Hope Fund is administered through Hamblen County Central Services. More than 1,500 families in Hamblen County were helped by the fund last year and around the same amount of families will be helped this year as well.

The 2019 Holiday Hope Fund goal is $100,000, but there are fewer days this year in which to raise money.

There are many ways to donate to the Holiday Hope Fund.

Those wishing to donate online can go to www.citizentribune.com and click on the Holiday Hope Fund button on the main page.

Online options to donate include PayPal, plus MasterCard, Visa and other major credit cards.

You can donate at the table at College Square Mall near Kohl’s at the children’s play area or online at mhcentralservices.org.

You can also mail a check to Holiday Hope Fund, P.O. Box 1622, Morristown, TN 37813.

Holiday Hope Fund

Balance Forward: $26,201

Emily Mullins $45

Autumn Gilbert $50

Rick Oler $100

Sharon Martin $50

Stanley Coffelt $45

College Square Mall Tree Donations

Ralph Overholt, in memory of Phillip Reitz $50

Alden and Mary Jo Vaughn, in memory of

daughter, Debra Kay Vaughn $100

Anonymous $100

Danny and Teresa Mills in memory of

Brandon Ray $100

Total $ 26,841

Holiday Hope Fund Goal $100,000