The holidays are a time for giving, but many families are struggling and need help. Those with the courage to ask for it find solace in the Salvation Army's annual Christmas Assistance and Toy Shop.
It's Madeline Colon's first time asking for help during the holiday's. She's here because something went wrong during her husband's surgery.
"He went in for surgery," Colon said. "A simple surgery, which was to remove his kidney stones and he ended up in critical condition. (Now) he's fighting for his life."
Her husband is the sole provider for her and their five children. Now that he's ill, she's putting pride aside to register for the Salvation Army's Annual Christmas Assistance and Toy Shop.
"I just feel so blessed," Colon said. "I'm very overwhelmed."
She's getting a blessing of three Christmas meals, plus toys - gifts she couldn't afford.
"I want my kids to have a great Christmas," she said.
The Salvation Army knows the need is great. It's seen a drastic increase in families seeking food this year.
"We've had a 24 percent increase," Salvation Army Captain Marci Orr said. "So we know the need is real out there."
Still many families haven't registered for holiday help.
"I would tell anyone to come down get help, because this is for kids," Colon said.
A gift to get through the hard times.
"I just hope my husband gets better and he'll come home soon," she said.
When her luck changes, Colon plans to once more volunteer her time as thanks.
Thursday and Friday are the last days to register for the Salvation Army's Christmas Assistance and Toy Shop. You can apply from 9 am to 4 pm at the Salvation Army's Northwest Community Service Center at 100 West Avenue in Rochester. You can also call the group at (585) 987-9500.