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Here's how to give back and get help during the upcoming Christmas season

Local nonprofits have been prepping to help families for months now. But they need your help!

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For many families, the thought of sleigh bells ringing and Christmas lights is a bit stressful right now.

"Now is the time that we need to get involved and help," United Way's Brewton Couch said. 

She added the pandemic has forced many families to go without the basic necessities, leaving the holidays to be an extra stresser. But with a few months left to prepare, Couch said families do have options for getting help.

"One of the main ways is through our 211 call center," she said. "If you call having a Christmas need, they can connect you to the program doing it."

If you're looking for info from the Salvation Army, Captain Dan Nelson said things will look a little different.

"For instance, Angel Tree registration is all online this year. It began at the beginning of this week and runs until the end of next week until we reach capacity," he said.

Angel Tree sign up is open until October 2th or until they are at capacity for Knox, Campbell, Anderson, Sevier and Cocke counties. Blount County's deadline was today. But Nelson said the entire organization is going to need more volunteers and more people willing to shop for Angel Tree toys. 

"The extent that the pandemic has gone on has pushed people to their limits," he said. 

Over in Loudon County, applications for Toys for Tots close October 21st at 4 p.m. No requests for bikes and no donations of any used toys will be accepted. The sheriff's office will take new toys, but are urging people to sponsor a child or children.

Credit: WBIR

Brewton said this year -- those who step up to help may not realize how much a little will go a long way.

"It really is a once in a lifetime situation where any impact will be incredibly important to our community," she said.