CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- During the winter charities like The Salvation Army and UPLIFT Charleston notice a spike in people needing assistance in many ways.

“Everybody is going to need some more help,” said Captain Mike Michels of The Salvation Army. “Electric bills go up, gas bills go up. We do see numbers creep up during the winter time.”

During the Christmas season The Salvation Army has come up short so far on a fundraising tradition as only a third of red kettle workers are working compared to last year.

“We’re getting crushed not because of a lack of generosity from the people of the Charleston region. We are getting really good kettles in, people are being really generous,” said Captain Michels.

So far this year, The Salvation Army says that they have collected about $70,000 from the red kettle donations. That number is over $100,000 shy of their $180,000 goal for 2021. The money raised goes towards helping people all year round with many issues including helping food insecurity.

“During the year we still do rent assistance and we still do utility assistance. It’s funny those words are just words, but let me give you a picture. That means that someone does not have to be evicted from their home,” said Captain Michels.

The Salvation Army has been able to fulfill its goal with the Angel Tree Program. Captain Michels says that the toy collection was able to give 2,000 children gifts this year.

Another charity in need of volunteers and donations is UPLIFT Charleston. Founder Aaron Comstock says that the group will be passing out wrapped gifts to the homeless this weekend.

“There’s a lot of people suffering out there everyday,” said Comstock.

UPLIFT Charleston says that the following items are needed the most for their gift giving donations.

  • Restaurant gift cards for a hot meal
  • Bus passes
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Clothes of any kind, especially winter coats and blankets

“We receive many messages and emails and comments all the time about people who are in need. So yes we want to bless these folks who we love, who we respect on Christmas and during the holidays,” said Comstock. “We also want to continue this work everyday because everyday there are people struggling not just on Christmas.”

Comstock says that this event will be going on as well as their weekly Sunday Blessing, where the group hands out food and other items to those in need. This week the event will be at Conway Park at 66 Columbus Street in Charleston from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

“We hope that people come out and take hold of this awesome opportunity,” said Comstock.

You can get in touch with UPLIFT Charleston to donate for the Christmas gift drive through their Twitter, Instagram and Facebook or at charlestonuplift@gmail.com.

To get in touch with The Salvation Army to donate you can visit their website.