"We are down, but our needs are up tremendously," said Maj. Paul Kirkpatrick, of the Salvation Army of Durham.
Kirkpatrick said the Salvation Army is $15,000 below last year's giving total, and that is not the only charity suffering through tough times.
Lee Cox with the Toys for Tots campaign said the organization is about 30,000 toys shy of the minimum number. He said it has been a tough year for almost everyone.
"The ice storm this year and the economic conditions in the area have really cut back on donations a lot," Cox said.
While some people are poorer, others are busier than normal. Elizabeth Cozart said she has been too busy to decorate her home. She said the Helping Hands Mission in Raleigh needs her help more.
"You know, you do what you can. It's Christmas. You try to help others," she said.
With Christmas just a few days away, many charities could write this off as just a bad year, but they are optimistic that the same charitable hearts that have come through in the past will come through again at the last minute.
"That's one thing we've always known about North Carolinians. They are very generous. They care a lot about one another, and we know that they will come through," said Mary Mosley, of the Helping Hands Mission.
Toys for Tots supplies new toys for many other charitable organizations. On Saturday, Toys for Tots will be accepting donations at most Kmart locations in the Raleigh and Garner area as well as at the Marine Reserve Center on Western Boulevard.