Recent editorials from Tennessee newspapers:


Nov. 15

Kingsport Times-News on supporting charities this holiday season:

As families gather during the holidays to share food and gifts, one of the enduring pleasures of the season is to give unto others. Seldom has the need been so great.

The pandemic has cost many their livelihoods and left them dependent, not just for food but for health needs and those many other things we take for granted as we go about our lives. It is painful to imagine children living without what most of us have, but they do.

More than any holiday season in recent memory, this year calls us to do all we can to help those who are unable to help themselves.

Open your wallet as best you can and give of yourself to the extent you can. Americans have always looked out for one another, especially in this region known for its caring, generous spirit.

Among the many organizations that also come to the rescue of the needy is the Salvation Army. They are expecting an unprecedented 155% increase in the demand for holiday services this year and are asking America to help “Rescue Christmas” for neighbors in need. More than anything else, the Salvation Army needs monetary donations to support its several Christmas programs.

But there are other ways you can help it help others.

At the moment, the Salvation Army needs support for its Red Kettle Drive, which raises funds that go toward several initiatives including sheltering, financial emergency assistance, and the Angel Tree program.

Our grandparents were among those who have put money in those red kettles since the program began some 130 years ago.

“Our Christmas Red Kettles are without a doubt the most prolific segment of our fundraising,” said Maj. Joseph May of the Kingsport Salvation Army. “Our kettle collection also generates a significant part of our social services budget.”

There are multiple ways to help. You may volunteer as a bell ringer by contacting the Salvation Army. This is rewarding work and does a great service to the cause because without volunteers to man the kettles, the Salvation Army must pay folks to man them, taking money away from the neediest among us.

The Salvation Army will provide a kit with a disposable mask, gloves, aprons and wipes to all ringers to ensure a minimal contact experience. There are also contactless giving options available through a QR code, which can be scanned for electronic giving.

“We prefer to have volunteers man our kettles. However, because we don’t have enough volunteers, we do have to hire a number of workers to make sure our kettles are covered,” May explained.

For details, call (423) 246-6671.

“We ring bells every day with the exception of Sundays. And the closer we get to Christmas, the more bell ringers we need,” May said.



Nov. 13

Johnson City Press on observing Thanksgiving during a pandemic:

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time spent together with friends and family, but, like many of our other traditions in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, we may need to break them this year.

On Nov. 11, Ballad Health leaders warned that large, out-of-town celebrations will likely lead to more patients in the region’s already near-capacity COVID-19 hospital beds.

By Nov. 13, the health system’s COVID patient census was 233, the most since the start of the pandemic and 38 away from filling Ballad’s available staffed beds.

We’ve all made sacrifices in the past eight months for the sake of public health. Many of us miss our friends and our family members, we’re going stir crazy, and we’re pining for a semblance of normal life.

But with our hospitals strained and the virus still spreading in our community, circumstances have not yet returned to normal. We must stay the course and maintain precautions for a while longer.

Unfortunately, that means changing our normal Thanksgiving plans.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends spending the holiday with people in your household.

Traveling and gathering with others increases the risk of catching COVID-19. Instead, consider connecting with friends and family by video chat to share a virtual meal. Many of us have grown accustomed to online gatherings, and while it’s not the same as in-person gatherings, it can be a suitable substitute.

If you still plan to attend an in-person Thanksgiving dinner, keep up the recommended safety practices for interacting with those outside your household. Wear a mask, stay six feet away from others and wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.

If the weather is agreeable, have an outdoor meal to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Limit the number of people gathered in the kitchen, where food is being prepared. If possible, ask others to bring their own food and drinks.

Always be careful and prepared when using public transportation, if traveling out of town.

With a coronavirus vaccine potentially ready for public distribution in the spring, we may be nearing the end of the tunnel, but we’re not out yet.

This year, let’s be thankful for our health and celebrate at a responsible distance.