It's going to take a lot of coins to meet the Christmas needs of the area this year.
"We know this community is generous. We just need some extra help this year,' said Maj. Steve Welch of The Salvation Army.
That's because the need is even greater than last year. in 2009, The Salvation Army helped 720 families with food and toys.
This holiday season, that number has gone up to 1,000. But Salvation Army officials say they believe this community is ready for the challenge.
The organization kicked off its annual Red Kettle Campaign and the Angel Trees. Because giving is often a family tradition, local children from Lamar School were on hand to put everyone in the giving spirit.
And their mothers were ready to document the occasion with photos, before many went on to be some of the first to donate to the cause.
"My kids, every time they walk by, they want to give to help out the people in our community in need," said Kelli Watson of Meridian.
"The Salvation Army depends on the local community in order to raise the funds to help people in that community," said Welch. "We don't get other funds normally, so this is our major fundraiser to support the work that we do in the community."
So, from this point on, you will find angel trees at Bonita Lakes Mall and Citizens National Bank branches. And when you hear the bell ringing, that's your cue to check your pockets and help make Christmas a lot brighter for your neighbors in need.