Many North Texans are preparing to face one of the most difficult holidays of their lives.
But they aren't alone.
Organizations like The Salvation Army are continuing their annual holiday traditions of giving. The organization has revamped the way it will help families this holiday season by focusing on a virtual format.
This year, NBC 5 and Telemundo 39 is still teaming up with The Salvation Army for the Angel Tree to help children, seniors and special needs adults throughout North Texas.
"The concern this year is there won't be as much foot traffic in some of the locations," Salvation Army Major Todd Hawks said. "So does that mean that there won't be as many angels adopted off the trees? Likely."
The 2020 pandemic has caused increased need financially, physically and emotionally for these families, and sponsors are needed now more than ever.
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"So many first-time recipients of service," Hawks said. "We want people to remember that 2020 wasn't all bad."
This year, the time-honored tradition will go virtual.
Just go to www.salarmy.us/ntxangel and scroll down to click ‘Adopt An Angel’.
You can choose from children, seniors, or special needs adults and print your Angel Tree tag at home.
Dropping off gifts is contactless this year with multiple drop off locations across North Texas. View their website to see a map.
"It's not about what you get," Hawks said. "It's about the spirit in which it's given."
The deadline to adopt is Dec. 1, 2020. The deadline to drop off the gifts is Dec. 5 but you can start dropping off at some locations as early as Nov. 30.
The Angel Trees will still be set up at local malls and stores to get exposure but the big push is to go online.
Red Kettle Bell Ringers
The annual bell ringing campaign will also look different this year.
Volunteers will still be out, except with masks and social distancing, so you will still hear the familiar ring of the bell at some area stores.
However, instead of cash or coins, donors are encouraged to use QR codes, which will be placed on the kettles. The code can be scanned using the camera on your smartphone, which takes you to a site to make a contactless donation to the Salvation Army through Apple Pay or Google Pay.
You can also be a bell ringer from home. If you go to virtualredkettlentx.org, you can host a virtual kettle and share across social media to raise money.
The Salvation Army area commander Major Todd Hawks told NBC 5 his team has pivoted so much because the need has grown so much this year.
"The pandemic has really made us say, 'OK, this isn't something we can think about.’ This is something we really need the community to participate in and it's so easy for people to just go online,” he said. “This pandemic has been very difficult on North Texan families. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve served over 4,000,000 pounds of food."
Those food drives are continuing this holiday season, too.
On Tuesday morning, Charlotte Jones and former Dallas Cowboys players helped load Thanksgiving meals into 100 cars.
The Salvation Army said twice as many North Texans are coming to them for services this year, with many of them having never asked for help before.
In fact, Maj. Hawks said 80 percent of families at one of their drive-throughs were first time recipients.
That means the workload for volunteers has doubled, especially when the Angel Tree families come to pick up their gifts here in a massive drive-through in December.
If you are willing and able to volunteer for The Salvation Army of North Texas, click here.