NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For some people this scene is synonymous with the holidays: A Salvation Army bell ringer standing next to a red kettle, collecting money for families in need.

For some people this is also the only time they donate all year, but those small contributions add up in a big way, reports CBS2’s Elise Finch.

Over at City Harvest, it’s all about the food. Each year manager Josh Morden and his coworkers rescue millions of pounds of food from restaurants and supermarkets and deliver it free of charge to food pantries and soup kitchens.

The service is in high demand at this time of year so recipients don’t have to choose between buying food for a holiday meal or paying their bills.

“Around this time they always report that their lines are always getting longer and longer and longer,” said Morden. “People are asking for more food so we try to get them turkeys.”

When it comes to giving, a little goes a long way. For example at City Harvest, for every dollar that’s donated, they’re able to help feed four New Yorkers for an entire day.

“When we do have that little bit that we can share and give it to others it feels good,” said Sarah Morales of Harlem.

“There’s a lot of people out here who do need and don’t have,” said Ivis Martell, also of Harlem. “I’ve seen it.”

Last year the Salvation Army’s red kettle campaign brought in $1.7 million in the Greater New York area alone, and #GivingTuesday donations brought in more than $300 million in just 24 hours.

“We gotta take care of each other, love and service,” said Bill Freston of the Upper East Side.

The need is so great, employees at non-profits want people to plan to donate money or volunteer their time the same way they plan a holiday meal or time to shop.