TYLER (KYTX) - The "miracle" of Christmas is repeated through the joy of sharing. The Salvation Army is asking for your help at those red kettles you see all over East Texas. The money collected in those kettles helps get people back on their feet, during the holidays and all year round.
"It means a lot to me because- I don't know. I've never really had that much help in my life."
23 year old Leah Pedersen has two young daughters. Because she just got out of a rehab program, she won't be spending this Christmas with them or the rest of her family.
"But, at least I have this place to help me, so I can get them back." she says.
Pedersen is keeping her chin up. She says the people at the Salvation Army have already helped her tremendously.
"Helping me find a job. And, I've had an interview already. And, just giving me a place to stay. And, the program and everything, my support."
Pedersen is not alone.
Right now, the Salvation Army is housing more than 100 people. They can house up to 210 and they say as it gets colder, they expect to reach capacity.
That means a lot of mouths to feed and services to provide, and it can't happen without help from the community.
Major Ben Lawrence says that's why kettle donations are so important.
"We set aside this money so it does stretch throughout the year so that we don't have to turn anybody away."
Major Lawrence says he's seen the success stories of people who have turned their lives around.
"They say, 'thank you for helping me get my life back together. You know, iIve got this job and it's because of what y'all helped me get through.'"
With the Salvation Army's help, Pederson is working to become one of those success stories.
"It helps get us out there and helps us with the confidence that we need."
The Salvation Army's national goal is to raise $3 million. Money raised in East Texas stays local.