TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) -- Susan Gilbert is in her 13th Christmas season heading up The Salvation Army's Angel Tree program in Tupelo.
She's been busy collecting donations and gifts for the children the charity is trying to help.
This year, The Salvation Army is trying to help approximately 1,000 children — an all-time high.
"There's a bigger request with the economy being the way it is," said Gilbert. "Everybody keeps saying it's getting better, but the families are still in need. The families are still feeling the crunch, and Christmas is still a luxury."
In years past, the adopting of angels has been slow in the beginning with a rush toward the program's deadline.
"Our big time they come in is usually the last weekend that we do it, which will be December 9. So that last week, we are usually running....It'd be wonderful if they could start coming in and letting me know they're going to be taken care of," continued Gilbert.
Some people may blame a down economy or tough times, but one volunteer believes that for those who are more fortunate, that excuse may not cut it.
"I don't know if it's a good enough excuse, but you just got to make sure your priorities are right, you know. You might skip eating a meal out and go get an angel," said volunteer Melissa Rea.
It costs $75 to adopt an angel, but Gilbert says any donation of clothing or toys can still make a child's Christmas.