"Getting volunteers is a primary need for us right now," the Salvation Army said.By Nicole Ford

CARNEGIE, Pa. (KDKA) — It may seem too early to think about the holidays, but the Salvation Army is already preparing for its red kettle campaign.

“Christmas Day may be 2 1/2 months away, but the kettle season starts just around the corner at the beginning of November,” said captain Ted Tressler.

There are a couple of barriers the non-profit faces heading into its biggest fundraiser. One is empty parking lots due to fewer people shopping because of COVID-19 concerns. Also, fewer volunteers are signing up and there is less disposable income for people to donate.

“Getting volunteers is a primary need for us right now,” Tressler said.

Now more than ever, Tressler said the organization needs to meet the $2.3 million goal for western Pennsylvania.

“In just the first three months of the pandemic, we distributed over a quarter-million meals. We are going to see probably about a 155 percent increase in request for assistance at Christmas,” Tressler said.

If you would normally donate money, but can’t this year, Tressler suggests donating your time

“There are many more neighbors who are near us who might not normally have to come to the Salvation Army for help for food or toys or utility assistance or to keep from being evicted from their homes,” Tressler said.

There is a training plan to help the bell ringers and donators feel safe when it comes to social distancing. If you are interested in donating or volunteering, give your local Salvation Army chapter a call or you can check out their website for more details.