At the Salvation Army donation warehouse in South Austin, volunteers sort through giant bags filled with gifts, making sure they get in the right hands. Outside, families line up, waiting for their names to be called. Monday was the first day of distribution for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program which provides gifts to kids age 12 and under. Last week, several thousand angels still needed to be adopted. Now, that number is down to about 100.
"We did a call to action and Central Texans listened," said Jamille Ruebsahm, Development Director with the Austin Salvation Army. Because of those donations, parents in need of a little help can bring Christmas home to their kids.
"When I give my babies a gift, then my babies are so happy," said mom of tow Marbella Mondragon. "Their faces are just really happy."
Over the next few days, as many as 900 families a day will line up at the Salvation Army warehouse to get gifts; about 150 families an hour.
"A huge operation that's very much supported through everyone at the Salvation Army and most importantly all the Central Texans who donated so generously to this program," said Ruebsahm.
It's that generosity that the Salvation Army is counting on as it's only met 40% of this year's $2.1 million fundraising goal.
"We are behind our goal," Ruebsahm admits. "We don't like to say that we're concerned because we think we just need to let our community members know that we're behind and we need to let everybody know to think about the Salvation Army this holiday season."
At the Capital Area Food Bank, it's a similar story. The holidays are the time when the organization relies heavily on donations and at this point, about half its goal for monetary and food donations have been met. And the need only continues to grow. This year the CAFB distributed seven million more pounds of food than in 2012.
"If everybody gives a dollar, that's several million to go around each year," said Manny Campos as he hands his young daughter some money to put in a Red Kettle outside Barton Creek Mall. "You always want your kid to grow up having charity in their heart."