Good Neighbors program begins Oct. 16

The Norris-based Good Neighbors annual Christmas gift and food drive officially begins on Oct. 16, when families living in the Norris Middle school district without regular access to food can sign up for this year’s delivery.

This program has been a Norris tradition for 85 years now. For the last three years, Norris resident Bob Gregory has been in charge.

“It’s affiliated with the Fellowship [church], but involves several other local churches,” Gregory said.

The program is funded through cash contributions.

“Every year, we’ve taken groceries from Archer’s and Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee,” he said.

The boxes are prepared similarly to the empty stocking fund boxes.

The program used to be for families who were on SNAP benefits or lived in subsidized housing, but has now been expanded to those who don’t have regular access to food.

Local elementary schools and Norris Middle hold a food drive to support the program. Students also get involved in filling the boxes. Last year, 130 boxes were filled, supporting over 300 individuals over the holidays.

According to Gregory, families of limited means have looked forward to, and appreciate, the extra supply of food and toys to make their Christmas a more joyous time.

“As always, members of the Fellowship have willingly pitched in with enthusiasm and generosity to make this project an enduring success,” he said.

To register, stop by Norris Religious Fellowship on Oct. 16 from 9 a.m.-noon. Bring proof of address, a photo ID and proof of eligibility.

Children’s gifts are available for those who have not signed up anywhere else and who are on government benefits. These are made available through St. Joseph’s Catholic Church’s Angel Tree project.

Pick-up day is Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. - noon. Volunteers are also needed prior to pick-up.

For more information, call the church office at 865-494-7131.