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Many ways to help communities

As we clear the Thanksgiving leftovers out of our refrigerators and head toward Christmas, the American mood right now is probably more “bah, humbug,” than “goodwill to men!”

COVID-19 appears to have gotten a demoralizing fourth wind, with cases shooting up in parts of Pennsylvania and other parts of the country. Inflation has taken a bite out of consumers’ wallets more than any other time in the last 30 years, and the country is perhaps even more fiercely divided than it was just a few years ago. The gloomy disposition has pounded President Biden’s approval numbers despite the legislative success of his infrastructure package.

On the bright side, the smart money has most of our current difficulties being temporary. The coronavirus will eventually subside, though there’s room for worry about new mutations and how much more illness and death the world will endure. Several economists have convincingly argued that this bout of inflation is less like the runaway inflation of the 1970s than the inflation that followed the end of World War II, as the country demobilized and pent-up consumer demand was unleashed. Issues with the global supply chain that have been stemming the flow of goods will eventually be ironed out. There’s reason to believe the whole economic picture will improve in the months ahead.

Nevertheless, COVID-19 and rising prices have exacerbated the woes many people have been experiencing. Families that were already struggling are having to pay even more for basics. As we embark on this season of gift-giving and generosity, those who can afford to might want to lend a hand to the region’s many nonprofit organizations through donations of money, time or expertise.

Capt. Amber Imhoff of Washington County’s Salvation Army Corps explained, “We certainly need volunteers year-round. We’re trying to do good in our community and for our community all year long, but this is a busy time for us.”

Imhoff also pointed out that there are a lot of ways people can help out.

“Maybe you can’t stand out there and ring a bell because of work commitments or a health issue, but you can hang door hangers for the Red Kettle, or maybe you can’t help financially, but you can assemble a bike or load cars for our Christmas distribution,” she said.

Lending a hand to others will be good for the entire community this holiday season. It might also help many of us move beyond that “bah, humbug” mood.

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