COVID-19 has put a stop to a lot of activities, but not Christmas Daddies. The show will go on and the tradition will continue on Saturday.

For many Maritimers, Christmas Daddies signals the official start of the holiday season.

It's a day that's filled with generosity entertainment and emotion and is a "genuine Maritime Christmas experience," says Jamie Locke.

The money raised goes to the Salvation Army, who in turn help Maritime families in need of assistance.

Since 1964 the telethon has raised more than $33 million.

COVID-19 has brought economic wreckage to parts of the Canadian economy and Christmas Daddies co-ordinator Roxanne Robinson says many Maritimers have been hit hard in 2020.

"Given the climate that we are now facing, the need is high," Robinson said. "Families are struggling, people are struggling, and we are there to help."

The need for assistance is at a high level across the region.

"We are experiencing an increase in need," Locke says. "There are people coming to us seeking assistance for Christmas and we are hearing comments like, 'this is the first time I've ever had to do this.'"

As for the telethon production itself, it wiill look different this year because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"We're going to have two people on our set six feet apart," Robinson says.

Many parts of the telethon will look and sound the same as previous years and there will be "an extraordinary array of pre-recorded talent," Robinson says.

A wide representation of the Maritime community will come together to give like they always do.

"All of the cheque presenters have sent us the videos and the photos and we will tell you all about those presenters," she said.

The 2020 Christmas Daddies telethon airs Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on CTV Atlantic.

The telethon will also be live-streamed on the CTV Atlantic website.