RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — If this month seems a bit jollier than usual, it could be because Wake County’s Holiday Cheer program has jumpstarted the giving season with a summer donation drive.

The program brightens the holidays for many in the county, primarily children and seniors in need of good Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, and of course—a few gifts as well.

Donations through the summer will help make sure support will be available to struggling households for the upcoming holiday season.

From now through August 31, monetary donations are being accepted through the donation portal on the Holiday Cheer website.

Recipients of the donated gifts and meals are not allowed to sign themselves up. Instead, people are nominated by their social worker or case manager. This nomination period is the last week of October.

Families who are eligible to be nominated by their social worker must:

  • Have a child under the age of 12 living in the home full time; or
  • Have a senior over age 60 living in the home full time; and
  • Actively receive a service or benefit from Wake County Health & Human Services; and
  • Have a household income at or near poverty level
  • Families who are chosen to participate will be contacted by their social worker by November 1. Families who are not chosen will not be contacted.

Families who are not chosen to participate in Holiday Cheer can seek assistance through the NC 211 Community Database.