TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The ringing of a bell reminds passerby the holidays are near. As donations are made, more people will be taking from this pot than years before.
"We have experienced here a 50 percent increase in need from last year," said Vicki Hastings, with the Salvation Army of Tyler.
Hastings says the increase in need can be felt all over town. And, Pastor Doug Anderson with Rose Heights Church says non-profit organizations must be careful where money and gifts are given.
"...so that the person doesn't abuse the system and starts double and triple dipping with all of the different organizations," explained Anderson.
In a time of need, the organizations reassure donors that checks are in place. They have databases, screening each person who comes through their doors.
"They simply keep a record of who they've helped and how much help they've given them, and, to help most effectively, organizations around town combine forces," he said. "By working together and cooperating we ensure that the people that need the help receive the help and those that are trying to take advantage of the system are caught."
When it comes to Christmas charities like Angel Tree and toy drives, the system is in place.
"[To receive from] Salvation Army and PATH and Crisis Center, you have to sign up for it," said Hastings. "It's not just you go and pick out a toy kind of thing."
"Churches stand ready to help and organizations stand ready to help, but we've all got to cooperate together to make sure the people who need it the most get it," said Anderson.
That way everyone get's the Christmas they deserve. The Salvation Army says people started signing up for Christmas help in September. With the increase in need this year, they are in need of more volunteers.