"The expenses are going up and the wages aren't keeping with it and so they're having a tough time."
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The Salvation Army is hard at work Tuesday to put Christmas smiles on the faces of so many children in San Francisco through its "Angel Tree" program.
"Thank you so much, thank you!" Roxana Argueta, a San Francisco resident said as a volunteer handed over two bags of toys.
The holidays are getting whole a lot brighter for Argueta and her sons along with more than 1,400 other children that might not otherwise have something to open under the tree.
"Each of these bags represents a different child, a child that comes from a family in need, and a family that's gone through a difficult season and in that bag is a little bit of hope, not just a toy but a little bit of hope," Major Matthew Madsen of the Salvation Army said.
Madsen says the need in San Francisco has reached a new high, with 30% more families asking to be a part of their "Angel Tree" program than last year.
"There are people when they submit their income, the numbers so that we can verify there's a need, the expenses are going up and the wages aren't keeping with it and so they're having a tough time," he said. "People are like, well do I pay my rent, pay for food, do I get medicine, do I get toys for my kids?"
And that's a message several organizations and private donors heard loud and clear.
Many of these toys were bought just a week and a half ago by teens part of an organization called Dig Deep SF.
They raised nearly $100,000 in one week by asking friends and family to "dig deep" for donations, before taking that money on an early morning shopping spree through Target.
"The good news is this community has rallied together," he said.
Argueta, a single mom of two boys under the age of seven, says this is a program that's made a big difference in her life. And it's her third year participating.
"That's why we are so happy because we can't buy the toys so when we are getting like this, we are happy, happy!" she said. "We have a Christmas! We have a chance to buy food or other toys for our kids so that's why I'm glad for Salvation Army."
Each bag of toys also comes with a $50 grocery gift card for a warm holiday meal.
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