NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) – The Salvation Army is busy collecting donations this holiday season. They say the number of kids in need this year is higher than ever before.

The Salvation Army is now putting out the call to people to join forces and volunteer as bell ringers. They used to have 13 to 14 in the New London area during the holiday season, but now they have six, and if there aren’t as many people manning the red kettles, then there aren’t as many donations coming in.

People can also help with Christmas assistance by taking a tag from a Christmas tree at Walmart and then shopping for specific gifts on a child’s wish list. There are still two weeks to donate and there’s a lot of children who could use some holiday cheer.

“We’ve actually seen quite a bit of an increase in our Christmas assistance,” Capt. Brandon Gonzalez-Cottrell, Salvation Army. “Typically, we serve about 400 children. This year, our number is right around 550 children.”

In addition, individual companies have also stepped up and donated big items like bicycles. The Salvation Army says that the generosity has never wavered and has stayed the same in this community.

There are still two weeks left to donate or volunteer to help with the holidays. 

Year round the Salvation Army also helps provide food for families, pay utility bills, and assist families after a fire.

“Folks who are displaced or maybe they don’t have the supplies to get back up on their feet. We can help with that,” said Capt. Gonzalez-Cottrell.

Donations can be given in person or online all year long and they stay in the local community.