By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From toys to jackets to food, the Salvation Army is trying to brighten up the holidays for families this year.

All across the state, people have been lining up for donations.

As CBS2’s Christina Fan reported Wednesday, from Chelsea to Jackson Heights, Queens, the familiar sight of red kettles brought desperately needed joy this Christmastime to families in need.

“It’s going home. It’s going straight home. I got some blankets, some needy stuff, toothbrushes, blankets, clothes,” said Lower East Side resident Danny Zhang.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

In a year filled with so much financial stress and emotional duress, the Salvation Army upheld its longstanding tradition of serving families. Across more than 15 locations in the New York area Wednesday, volunteers distributed toys and gifts, and coats to children and their families.

“I’m just really grateful and at least I can give my kids a Christmas they deserve,” said Lower East Side resident Nicole Hernandez.

“I’m not picky. I’m not choosey. Whatever it is, I’m thankful,” added Rasheeda Williams of Brownsville, Brooklyn.

ARE YOU RUNNING OUT OF FOOD?

Volunteers said with food insecurity so high this year, many locations also offered fresh produce and food for the holidays. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 6 million meals have been served in the New York area.

“I come here every day for soup and then once a week to collect the groceries. It helps me a lot,” said Rajenbra Nayak of Jackson Heights.

Commissioner Bill Bamford said the public’s donations meant more than ever this year, with demand up 150%. Volunteers aren’t just filling up empty stockings, but also empty stomachs.

“Obviously, because of COVID and people being laid off from work, they’re not only coming once, but they are coming back month after month,” Bamford said.

And the Salvation Army said it will be here year after year, making sure families walk away with full hearts.

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CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report. 

CBSNewYork Team