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SALT LAKE CITY — A growing economy is a good thing, but it's also hurting the Salvation Army.
This season, the nonprofit organization expects to see an 18- to 20-percent drop in funds through the Red Kettle Bell Drive, which could result in assisting 17,000 fewer people.
"When you have to tell somebody no, you just don't have the money in the bank, that's the difficult time," said Major Richard Greene, the Salvation Army's Great Basin coordinator.
Greene said every day the organization has 30 fewer bell ringers than needed. He blames the 4.6 percent unemployment rate in Utah.
"There are just not enough people who are willing, basically, to take a minimum wage job," Greene said.
Nic Dunn, spokesman for the Utah Department of Workforce Services, said a growing economy gives workers more employment opportunities, making them overlook temporary positions.
"During a recession, businesses will usually opt for temp jobs because they're a little more cheaper. It allows them to be a little more flexible when they have to," Dunn said. "But when the economy strengthens and businesses become more confident, they move toward part-time or full-time jobs."
Still, Dunn said there are people willing to take temporary employment if they are aware of the need.
The Red Kettle Bell Drive brings in 40- to 50-percent of the annual funds for the Salvation Army; $230,000 to $250,000 is raised each season, Greene said.
To work or volunteer as a bell ringer, contact the Salvation Army at 801-988-4204.