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Gifts being collected for local children

For the 10th consecutive year, Unicoi County Clerk Mitzi Bowen and her deputy clerks are collecting gifts for local children in need.
“Years ago, we wanted to do something for the kids here in the county and we came up with the idea of doing the Tree of Hope,” Bowen said. “We get families from here in Unicoi County. It’s families that we know need things at Christmas time who are having a hard time. It could be your next door neighbor or the person you sit next to in church or the person you’re working with … everybody has hard times.”
Bowen said the names of more than 50 county children, representing more than 20 families, were given to her office for the Tree of Hope, having been identified as needing assistance by the Unicoi County School System.
“The school system knows the needs of the children because they work hands on with them,” Bowen said of working with the system to identify the children for the tree.
The names of the children have been added to the tree and people are encouraged to stop by the clerk’s office to pick up one of the “ornaments” off of the tree. Bowen said the ornament bears the age, clothing and shoe sizes of each child, as well as items they wish for.
Those who adopt a child should return the gifts to the clerk’s office in the Unicoi County Courthouse by Dec. 14.
Bowen said monetary donations are also being accepted to purchase gifts, as well as provide each family a food box, which will include a turkey and all the trimmings.
“We have several people who make monetary donations for gifts and we will do the shopping,” Bowen said. “We are happy to do that.”
For more information about the Tree of Hope, call 743-3381.