TRI-CITIES (WJHL) — The holiday season is a busy time of year for everyone, including non-profits in the Tri-Cities.

Through this difficult year and as Christmas is right around the corner, organizations across the region are doing their part to help others.

“Tonight, we are putting boxes together,” said Pastor Jack Carpenter of Morrison Chapel United Methodist Church in Kingsport. “We have several volunteers here. Tomorrow, we plan on distributing approximately 50 boxes.” 

Morrison Chapel United Methodist Church is preparing for their first-ever food drive as more and more families in the Tri-Cities are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We just want to do whatever we can to share what we’ve been pleased with the people who aren’t so lucky right now,” said one of the food drive organizers and volunteers, Brooke Vicars.

The food drive will be from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, and community members do not need to be pre-registered to receive a box.  

Each box contains items ranging from breakfast foods to fresh meats and vegetables.

The church will be handing out the boxes through a contactless pickup.

Cars can drive by the church, and masked volunteers will place the items inside the car.

Morrison Chapel United Methodist Church is just one of many organizations doing what they can for those in need.

“Love is not a word, and it’s not a feeling,” said Carpenter. “It’s a demonstration of action. And this is how we have chosen to love our community. By giving back to them.” 

Though this is their first food drive, they’re asking for continued donations so it won’t be their last.

The church is planning on having another food drive at the beginning of the new year.

Over in Johnson City, The Salvation Army is trying to reach its $200,000 goal.

They’re reminding people that donating during the holidays helps them reach out to those in need year-round.

“Emergency shelter, financial assistance, food,” explained Capt. Antwann Yocum with the Johnson City Salvation Army. “We feed every day of the year, year-round, and so this Christmas season it’s really about raising funds to support those services year-round.”

With COVID-19 restrictions, The Salvation Army hasn’t been able to do as much outreach when it comes to asking for donations.

“We’ve had fewer bell ringers,” said Yocum. “You know, the COVID pandemic has made everything really strange, and so out of 17 locations I’m ringing on an average of four doors. So, that’s a big deal — we’re not able to cover as many spots; we’re not able to raise as much money.”

With more people shopping online this season, Yocum is hoping people will donate online, too.

“They can go to our website and learn about all of our programs,” Yocum said. “They can also make a secure donation online, and there’s opportunities to support us year-round for volunteering. Hopefully, once the COVID pandemic is under control , we can welcome people back into volunteer and helping our homeless shelter.”