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Salvation Army Struggles To Collect Donations For Families In Need Due To Pandemic

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- The holiday season is usually a time for giving.

This year, charities need more help than ever to provide assistance to the growing number of families who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. But, the pandemic has also had some consequences for charities that are making it harder for them to provide such necessary aid.

Such is the case for the Salvation Army. Most years, bell ringers are outside every business in town collecting money for those in need.

But this holiday season, 50% of the businesses they asked to participate have declined due to the pandemic.

"Since the coronavirus hit, some of the stores were not comfortable having us outside," said Pasadena Salvation Army Captain Terry Masango.

Even though wears gloves and a mask and stands at a distance, the red kettles are running low on cash and coins.

"Because of the fear that there might be germs and the virus on the money," Masango said. "So, we are struggling to get donations to come through."

Masango said this comes at a time when the organization is seeing a tripled need for social services in communities across the country.

The Salvation Army expects 6.6 million Americans will come to them for help in the next six weeks.

"We collect those funds and we turn around and purchase food and purchase toys for the families who come to us for help," Masango said.

So this year, the Salvation Army has launched a campaign to rescue Christmas from the pandemic. They've introduced virtual red kettles where people can donate online.

Neno and his older sister gave some money outside Stater Bros in Pasadena on Tuesday night.

"That's the only good thing about Christmas," Neno said of helping those in need.

And while a couple bucks might not seem like much, Masango assures that "every little bit helps."

He said those dollars will mean so much to someone else.

"I wish that I could capture every moment when families come to us, hugging us, crying..." he said.

In addition to money, new, unwrapped toys can also be donated to any Salvation Army location.

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