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Local charities: giving is a year-round need

The Digital Giving Index says about a third of all giving occurs in the month of December. But, local organizations serve their communities throughout the year.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When the red bells start ringing, it typically means the start of the holiday season. The Salvation Army's red kettle drive helps provide gifts through the Angel Tree program.

But during the other eleven months of the year, the Salvation Army provides community assistance like transitional housing and support for domestic violence victims. 

"Need has no season," Salvation Army grant and volunteer coordinator April Keeton said. "We are all in the mood during this time because we're thinking about our families and love, but just remember people have needs and problems all year long."

That's the message East Tennessee charities are trying to get out this week. While the Digital Giving Index says 31% of annual giving occurs in the month of December, they have people to help year-round.

"There's about 160,000 people in East Tennessee that are going hungry," Second Harvest director of development Rachael Ellis said. "If you think about it, hunger happens all year long."

Ellis said Second Harvest is extremely grateful for the $832,544 it raised on its Double Your Donation day. Still, that money won't last forever.

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"To keep things a little bit more in perspective, we can only cover about a month and a half with those donations for the warehouse," Ellis said. 

The United Way of Greater Knoxville sees similar needs every day.

"The generosity in our community is great, but the need is always greater," said Brewton Couch, UWGK's vice president of branding and messaging. "We still have a lot more giving that we can do here in Knoxville."

If you don't have money to donate, there are other ways to help. Volunteering your time or sharing posts on social media can make a difference, too.

"We have about 23,000 hours of volunteer work that folks do throughout our warehouse," Ellis said. "We're excited to have folks just come and be part of everything that we do."

RELATED: KPD reminding people about the best ways to help Knoxville's homeless

RELATED: The Holiday Guide to Volunteering

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