A slowdown in donations has local charities asking for help.
Here's a request for assistance that won't put too much strain on the household budget.
Local charities Salt & Light and the Salvation Army of Champaign County have run low on used items like clothes, children's toys, furniture and household items.
So if you've been meaning to clean the house and can spare a few items of this nature, these two organizations can put them to good use.
We don't mean to identify Salt & Light and the Salvation Army as the only worthy beneficiaries of community assistance. There are other fine charitable organizations that are equally suitable for donations.
But the Salvation Army and Salt & Light have indicated they are just about out of what they routinely have available to help out those in need. Since many people who are hurting rely on these two entities, it would be nice if all those in the helping professions had the resources necessary to meet the demand.
But the bigger issue surrounding the decline in donated items is why: What is happening that would cause a falloff in the donation of used goods to local charities?
It could be just one of those rare events of no great meaning. But there has been speculation that it's more fallout from a brutal recession and a painfully slow recovery. If that's the case, it's no great surprise that people are hanging on longer to items they might have donated in better times.
Unemployment, underemployment, furlough days and pay cuts have taken their toll not just on people's economic standing, but also their confidence that circumstances will get better.
Economic analysts in Washington, D.C., say the economy is improving. Even if that's true, it's a painfully slow process. Unfortunately, rising gasoline prices that take more money out of everyone's pocket threaten what little progress has been made.
However, those on the short end of the current cycle are in greater need of help. That's why the call for assistance by the Salvation Army and Salt & Light deserves consideration. The current hard times make it especially important that community members stick together and lend a hand. So if you can, help Salt & Light and the Salvation Army help those in need.