Family gets help from Salvation Army for holidays - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Family gets help from Salvation Army for holidays

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Some of us take our Christmas celebrations for granted, but not every family can afford to buy toys and clothes.

Grandparents Freeman and Debra Johnson are struggling to raise their young grand children are getting some much needed help from the Salvation Army,"the children come first, they come first," bluntly explains Freeman Johnson.

The boys who are four and three have a father in jail and a mom unable to take care of them. The couple faces two big hurdles in raising the boys. One is money, the other is their health. Together they bring in around 2000 dollars a month on disability. Eye problems are making Debra go blind. She's also battling thyroid cancer. A former home builder, Freeman suffered nerve damage to his back from a work injury,"we're trying to pay our medical bills and this is just the wrong time of year I guess," explains Debra Johnson.

Faced with the choice of sacrificing Christmas to pay medical bills, Debra wrote a letter to the Salvation Army for help,"Major Karen read this letter and she was in tears reading it and she said, you know what, we need to contact them," says Major Julio Vasquez of the Salvation Army.

Major Vasquez says families should contact them before thanksgiving to get help. The organization's adopted family program helps an average 25 families a year. The Johnson's will get toys for the kids and coats and food to tie them over.

The family's staying optimistic thanks to the Salvation Army saving Christmas, "Just keep on truckin' and hope everything works for the best," says Freeman.

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