Tough economic times take a toll on local charities. More people are in need of assistance this Christmas and regular donors can't afford to give this year. But we can still help without putting a big dent on our pocketbook.
On the outside Oats Oldfield looks a little rough around the edges, but the Hell's Angels member spends ten hours each week ringing a bell for the needy.
"It doesn't matter where you came from, how you look... It's about helping people that need help," says Oldfield.
But what happens without people like Oldfield?
"Absolutely nothing, if there’s no one there, the kettles are gone and no money is collected," says Norma Baker of the Salvation Army.
In order to keep donations coming in and to keep volunteers manning stands, this the Salvation Army needs about one thousand people to donate two hours of their time.
"This is just my way of giving back. I've got the time,” says Oldfield.
Other local charities like the Mountain of Toys and The Hunger Connection need help as well. The Mountain of Toys has collected only 600 toys. Their goal is 4,500. The Hunger Connection is feeling a similar crunch.
"The demand at the pantry is up 45 percent. Part of the problem is people who donated in the past now need assistance, so it's a double whammy," says Hunger Connection Marketing Director Diane Kelly.
Mountain of Toys has been getting a lot of old toys, but they're looking for new toys. 23 Morning Co-Anchor Aaron Wilson will be out at Colonial Village Mall Thursday and Friday helping them reach their goal.
If you’d like to be a bell ringer, you can call the Salvation Army at 962-7207 or log on to www.ringbells.org. This is the first year that the Salvation Army is relying completely on volunteers. About 1,500 people have volunteered to ring bells.