Gastonia, N.C. - Many families with young children need a little help for the holidays, but some find it very hard to ask.
If you're a mom or dad struggling to make the season bright for your kids, the Salvation Army says its there to help.
The Salvation Army of Gaston County has already started making its Christmas list. So far more than 200 families have signed up for assistance. The ring of the Salvation Army bell is a sound we're used to hearing a bit closer to the holiday, but Captain Mark Hunter says it’s necessary to start early.
"It takes us awhile to get the information from the families in need, print the angels, get it out in the community, and then receive the items back for us to prepare the items for the families," said Captain Hunter.
This week families from Gaston and Lincoln Counties - like Candice Crisco - are coming to the Salvation Army of Gaston County to sign up for Christmas assistance.
"I was honestly afraid to come. I came here with one of my friends. She told me, it's ok to ask for help. There's no need to be shy to ask for help. Everybody needs help at some point," said Crisco.
Her two-year-old daughter, Betty, is one of about 2,400 children who will be on the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree this year.
"This is her first Christmas that she'll be able to remember. I want my children to have a good Christmas so they can have something to remember and be happy about," said Crisco.
And for Captain Mark Hunter, that's what this is all about.
"The need was great and my heart broke when I was taking their application. I wanted to make sure that for Christmas if nothing else we could hand out more than gifts. We wanted to hand out love, compassion, and hope," said Hunter.
Families in Gaston and Lincoln Counties have until Friday, October 23rd to sign up.
You'll need to take a picture ID, proof of address, social security cards for adults and children, proof of income, birth certificate for each child, custody or guardianship papers, and clothing and shoe sizes for each child.
If you want to help make a child smile this Christmas, you can pick an angel off the Salvation Army tree at any Subway or the Eastridge mall starting the beginning of November.
Registration for the Charlotte branch goes until October 30th. Hours for both branches are 10am until 4pm.
Here's the address for the Gaston County Salvation Army: 1506 Union Rd, Gastonia, NC