Mission of Hope is kicking off it's 23rd annual Christmas Campaign soon to help those in need in the mountains of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.

This year, the organization is hoping to help more than 18,000 children and their families at 28 rural elementary schools.

Last year, the organization was able to meet a similar goal of serving 18,000 families.

The 2018 Mission of Hope Christmas Campaign Big Blue Barrel Collection begins on Friday, Nov. 16 and lasts through Tuesday, Dec. 4. People are encouraged to donate non-perishable food, new clothes, new toys and hygiene items (you can find a list of the most needed items below).

The iconic blue collection barrels will have the Mission of Hope logo on them and can be found throughout the Knoxville area at the following businesses once the 2018 campaign begins on Nov. 16:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Food City
  • K-Mart
  • Home Federal
  • TVA Employees Credit Union
  • Fisher Tire
  • Barnes & Noble

Items Most Needed

Non-Perishable Food

  • Green Beans 16 oz.
  • Corn 16 oz.
  • Fruit 16 oz.
  • Soup 10.5 oz.
  • Tuna 7 oz.
  • Entree Items (Stew, Chili, etc.) 18 oz.
  • Saltines 16 oz.
  • Macaroni & Chesse 7.5 oz.
  • Oatmeal 18 oz.
  • Peanut Butter 18 oz.
  • Dried Beans 2 lb.
  • Sugar 5 lb.
  • Flour 5 lb.
  • Cornmeal 5 lb.
  • Rice 2 lb.
  • Non-perishable food items only. Please – No glass containers

Clothing Suggestions (Children's Sizes 4 - 18)

  • Coats – Warm Weather
  • Jeans & Pants
  • Shirts & Blouses
  • Socks & Underwear
  • Hats & Gloves
  • Children in Kindergarten through 8th Grades

Toy Suggestions (New and unopened only, suggested $15 value each gift)

  • Large Stuffed Animals
  • Sports Balls & Equipment
  • Electronic Games
  • Arts & Crafts Sets
  • Fishing Rods
  • Watches & Jewelry
  • Fashion Doll Sets
  • Action Figure Sets
  • Remote Control Vehicles
  • Gifts for Children Ages 10-14

Hygiene Suggestions (full-size products, please)

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Soap Bars
  • 2-in-1 Shampoo with Conditioner (11-15 oz. size)

To make donations, become a volunteer, or for more information -- you can visit the organization's website here, call Mission of Hope at (865) 584-7571, email them at info@missionofhope.org, or send mail to them at Mission of Hope -- P.O. Box 51824 -- Knoxville, TN 37950.

The organization began in 1996 after WBIR 10News anchor emeritus Bill Williams reported on destitution and poverty in rural Appalachia. The response was a drive called "Hunger for Hope," which served roughly 150 children and later blossomed into the much larger Mission of Hope effort.

"Unfortunately, many families in Appalachia have lost hope for a successful future because they only see the results of poverty, broken families, loss of jobs and depleted coal mining economies," Mission of Hope said. "There are many places around the world that can use your help…but this is where you have an opportunity to make a difference in your own backyard – Appalachia."