The Salvation Army relies on community support during the holiday season to provide food, clothes, shelter and gifts to those in need.
For these organizations, the holidays are generally a time of increased giving by community members in the holiday spirit.
But Ashley Delamar, the Salvation Army's business administrator for Wake County, said this year's economy has left the organization short on funding.
He said because of a recent increase in layoffs, there has been a 12 percent increase in the number of families registered to receive gifts from the organization.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Web site, the nation's unemployment rate increased to 5.4 percent in October, the highest rate reported since December 1996.
"We need a huge Christmas season in terms of support from the public," Delamar said.
The increase in need has left the group struggling to meet its goal of providing food vouchers to each of its 6,000 registered families, who come from Wake, Orange and Durham counties.
The Salvation Army, whose local headquarters is based in Wake County, gives toys to every child in each family and provides "league of mercy" gifts to nursing home residents and prisoners. The items will be distributed by volunteers Dec. 20 and 21.
Delamar said anyone wishing to contribute should look for the red donation kettles at local Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target stores.