Just two weeks ago, The Salvation Army of North Texas had 20,000 angels still waiting to be adopted for the Angel Tree program.
Thanks to generous North Texans, every single angel tree family has been taken care of this year.
But now comes the hard part: Sorting tens of thousands of donated Christmas gifts to be picked up by those families in need.
It's now the volunteers' turn to help rescue Christmas, both with the angel tree and as red kettle bell ringers.
Salvation Army leaders said there is so much work to do and simply not enough volunteers compared to years past due to the pandemic.
"There's less foot traffic this year, people are being more cautious. They're not volunteering as often as they normally would for good reason," said Major Todd Hawks, area commander for The Salvation Army of North Texas.
A lot of the corporate volunteers the Salvation Army relied on for the Christmas warehouse have dropped out this year, so they're hoping for immediate volunteers to step in right now to help.
The workload looks overwhelming. Volunteers have literally been moving mountains of donated items, sorting through these huge piles of Angel Tree wishes.
The gifts are being distributed to families through a contactless drive through now until next week, adding to the complexity for the volunteer crew.
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The organization is also hurting when it comes to the Red Kettle bell ringer volunteers.
There are eight days left but they've only met 50% of their $1.8 million fundraising goal.
To give you a better idea, the Salvation Army of Garland location has 29 kettle locations but only eight volunteers.
Leaders said this is the biggest fundraiser of the year that pays the bills, feeds the hungry and keeps their shelters open.
"Those red kettles are very important, not just at Christmas but throughout the year," said Major Hawks. "We noticed since March of 2020, increase in requests for food, increase in rent and utility assistance, and those basic human needs that we kind of take for granted."
He said he believes those increased needs will continue for at least six months into 2021.
How to Help
Between now and Christmas, if you are comfortable and willing to sign up as a volunteer either in the warehouses or as a bell ringer, they need hundreds of people across locations like Dallas, Garland, Plano, McKinney, Denton and Waxahachie. Click here to sign up through an online form.
Click here to register as a bell ringer at a red kettle location. You can choose between a midday or evening shift.
To help the Garland location, which has an immediate need for volunteers to sort Angel Tree gifts and ring the bell at red kettles, email:
Volunteers will be equipped with PPE. All the red kettle locations are socially distanced and follow sanitizing protocols. There is also a QR code on the kettle to encourage people to pay through their smartphone instead of with cash.
You can also become a bell ringer virtually from home through the Salvation Army website. Click here to sign up.