NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – This is an exciting time of year for kids, writing their wish lists to Santa.

But in a pandemic, he may not be able to deliver the same way he has before.

CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis spoke to organizations stepping in to help families in need.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many parents out of work, like 20-year-old Angelina Severson, the holidays can be stressful – especially this year.

More: COVID Pandemic Reshaping Holiday Shopping Season

“I’ve moved more this year than ever because of the pandemic. It has been pretty tough,” Severson said. “I want my daughter to have a really good Christmas.”

So she put out a call on social media, searching for programs helping those struggling financially.

“I get nervous making those posts, because like I don’t want anyone to think that I’m a bad mother for where I am in life,” she said. “Everybody deserves kindness.”

“Never be afraid to reach out, there’s always a helping hand on the other side,” said Meagan Mulligan, senior manager of service events at Jersey Cares.

Each holiday season, the non-profit Jersey Cares reaches out to New Jersey shelters and charitable organizations to collect letters from 5,000 children for its gift-giving program “Frosty’s Friends.”

LINK: Frosty’s Friends

“Children write letters to Frosty and then people sign up, all of ‘Frosty’s friends,’ get together to help fulfill those holiday wishes for the kids,” Mulligan said.

Mulligan said due to the pandemic, many students are working in the virtual space and may not have been able to write a letter to Frosty at school.

“We had over 3,000 kids requesting gifts just through an Amazon wish list alone, and that is definitely where we need the most support,” she said.

Once volunteers get the gifts, they send them to the organizations who, for privacy reasons, make the deliveries to recipients.

On Long Island, there’s an organization named “Angels On Call.” Lead angel Ginger Hoerning has been doing this from her home since the 1980s.

“We’re adopting families for Christmas,” she said.

She finds families in need through social services, churches and schools, then rounds up local “angels” or volunteers who call on their friends and family to buy and wrap gifts to hand deliver.

“I can still see the faces of people that have received this gift or these gifts of Christmas and they are overwhelmed by it. And for us it’s just so special,” Hoerning said.

Whether with an organization or on your own, she says anyone can be an angel this holiday season for those in need.


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