KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The holidays are fast-approaching and for some families, this can be an exciting time of year but for others, they may be struggling to feel the holiday spirit. Several nonprofits work to make this time of year more jolly for those in need.

There are dozens of nonprofit organizations in and around our area that help people year around. However, this time of year is when the giving really ramps up for these organizations and they’re asking for your help to help others.

The Salvation Army

Major Cameron Henderson with The Salvation Army said, “when we see needs in our community, our mission, our drive is to say how can we help, how can we support those who are in need.”

At their Knoxville location, their homeless shelter has around 100 beds. Last year, they helped 120 people escape homelessness. They were able to do this a dollar at a time through their Red Kettles.

“This is the beginning of our fiscal year and so we will raise approximately a quarter of, if not more, a third of our income this season between now and the end of December,” said Henderson.

Their hope is to raise $100,000 dollars between the six counties they serve. The Salvation Army needs volunteers to help ring the bells.

They are also calling on people to donate toys for their toy drive. Henderson adds, “[We’re] looking forward to helping about 1600 people have gifts under the tree, seniors and children, helping families that are struggling make sure their kids have a good Christmas.”

You can learn more about ways to help The Salvation Army by clicking here or calling 865-971-4903.


Across the street at Knox Area Rescue Ministries, Karen Bowdle said, “last night we took in almost 400 men, women, and children here at this shelter. That’s feeding them three meals a day and trying to encourage them to get into our program which is designed to break the cycle of homelessness in their lives.”

KARM has a long list of needs this holiday season.

“Bottled water is always a need, twin sheets are always a need, underwear, that needs to be new. It could be men’s and women’s underwear, in all sizes. With this cold weather, we are particularly in need of scarves, gloves, and toboggans to help people stay warm,” said Bowdle.

They also need Chapstick, jackets, staff, and volunteers. They will be hosting a Thanksgiving meal next week for the people that they serve. 

“Next week is Thanksgiving week and you know Thanksgiving is a lot of peoples’ favorite time of the year, it’s their favorite meal of the year. For our guests, it can be a very sad day.” 

Their meals will be at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. You can find more ways to help and volunteer by clicking here. 

Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee

Second Harvest Food Bank is always in need of volunteers as well.  Alison Galyon with Second Harvest said monetary donations can go a long way this time of year.

“Our biggest fundraiser of the year is coming up soon. It’s double your donation day on December 8. All the donations made to Second Harvest will be matched by generous sponsors. So, you can give us a call or visit our website on that day and make a donation,” said Galyon.

The Second Harvest will be giving out food for families to enjoy a holiday meal at home.

Galyon said, “we actually have a food distribution this Thursday, November 17th from 10 a.m. to noon here at our warehouse here in Maryville where we will be distributing Thanksgiving-type foods. So, every family that will come will get either a turkey or a ham as well as some sides like cranberry sauce, dressing, canned vegetables, and fresh produce.”

To sign up to volunteer or find food drop-off locations for Second Harvest you can click here.

McNabb Center

The McNabb Center is still looking for donations for its Dear Santa Program. This program serves children in need who are currently receiving services from them. They are looking for sponsors from the community to fulfill those wishes now until the first week of December.

Amy Cattran with the McNabb Center said, “people are still able to donate new, unwrapped toys for our toy drive that we have set up at the north pole. Those toys will go to supplement for children who do not receive a wish list but still have a need this holiday season.”

Last year, the McNabb Center helped 2,200 children and their families. They hope to meet or exceed that number this year. To learn more about the McNabb Center’s Dear Santa program and how you can help, click here.

These are just a few nonprofits that are asking for the community’s help to continue to move their missions forward this season.

Editor’s Note: Corrected the spelling of “Henderson”