Please donate to the kettle campaign

While the extremely low unemployment rate — nationally, statewide and locally — is undoubtedly beneficial, it and a strong economy can result in growing pains.

For example, the Federal Reserve raised a key interest rate for the fourth time this year. While the move is a way to stave off inflation, it quickly had the effect of deflating major stock market indices.

The impact of a tight job market might be making itself felt in another way locally. As the week began, The Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign was running at about 65 percent of its goal, just a week before Christmas.

It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for that, but it might not be due to a lack of charity on the part of local shoppers as much as fewer opportunities to drop donations in the familiar kettles.

That’s because volunteers to staff the kettles have been more difficult to schedule; the demands on workers likely have something to do with that. The local citadel even offered to pay bell-ringers to stand sentinel at the kettles, but still came up shorthanded.

This is just a way to say that, if you happen to pass a kettle during the next few days, don’t assume you’ll have other opportunities to chip in for the fundraiser, which is a crucial source of money for The Salvation Army’s year-around programs.

Yes, even with a vibrant economy, the needs met by those programs do not go away. Thanks in advance for your help, and have a merry Christmas.