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Salvation Army Turning Unused Gift Cards Into Cash

Posted December 28, 2007

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— If you are like thousands of people in Wake County you gave or received gift cards this Christmas.

Gift card sales climb every year, and every year, many people don't use what they are given. There is a new program that is making sure some good comes out of those unused funds.

"We can convert the unused portion of gift cards into cash for our programs that serve the homeless and the needy here in Wake County," said Ashley Delamar with the Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army said $100 billion worth of gift cards were sold in the United States in 2007, with an average of 8 to 12 percent going unused. That could have amounted to about $10 billion dollars of unused money for the needy.

Here is how it works: If you have a few cents or a few dollars on a gift card that you are not going to use, hand it over to the Salvation Army. The organization then sends the gift card to a California company that converts them to cash.

"One of the great benefits of the program is that any gift card, from any retailer, anywhere in the U.S. can be utilized," Delamar said.

The Salvation Army said utilizing the program is not something you have to go at alone.

"Be energetic about it. Use your office, use your church, promote it in your neighborhood. Use the collection envelope as the voice of the program, and just ask people,'" Delamar said.

 The Salvation Army keeps 70 percent of the converted gift cards and uses the money in the community where it was donated.


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  • JuanGrande v3.0 Dec 29, 2007

    As a former employee of the Salvation Army I can tell you that the money spent goes to people who really need it. Anyone asking for assistance is interviewed and checked to make sure that they are not abusing the system or bouncing from charity to charity. Any money donated or spent at a SA Thrift Store stays in that community. Each SA branch receives very little national money; the vast majority of it's money must be raised locally.

  • ladyblue Dec 29, 2007

    howdiditgettothis--I just have to say the way things got like like this is from stupid thinking people. Let a few illegals in and work for cheap pay. Oh yea. Then let a few hundred in and work for cheapo pay. Then by 2007 let in several million and let them all work for pay, not as cheap as before by still cheaper than American wages, so they can all get the food stamps and medicaid America offers. I rather have 5 worthless bums muching off me than one illegal. There are people in this country who depend on social services because they are disabled. They paid their soc. sec taxes so why shouldn't they get help when they need it??? Now to the topic--I think that giving the gift cards is a neat idea but if people don't remember to use them I don't think they'll remember to turn them into Salvation Army.

  • bbdavis2002 Dec 28, 2007

    I do not understand this concept? How does this get converted to cash? Does the company just pay a portion of whats left on the card and then what? Re-sell cards?

  • howdiditgettothis Dec 28, 2007

    frankly, i would much rather be contributing to the welfare of a hard working "illegal" than an "american" who is living off our taxes through medicaid, welfare, food stamps, etc.

    at least the illegal is actually WORKING (although not paying taxes, etc. --- so penalize the employer!).

    there are MANY MANY MANY people who were born in the US, and have lived in the US their WHOLE lives, yet generation after generation they CHOOSE TO BE economically indigent.

    there is no reason for them not to be working, other than laziness and stupidity.

    i think, a few charities, like the salvation army, truly do the best they can to provide for needy people of any race/ethnic background, without spending exhorbitant amounts on mailings, clerical staff, etc. (unlike the united way).

  • denverbob234 Dec 28, 2007

    most people don't use them because they forget about them. I use them when I think about them and this just seems like some company in California trying to make a profit off a bad gift. It seems that the more we donate the more they want and the more abuse there is. Most of the people who get these donations are capable of working and providing for themselves by why should they when there is a hand out coming. Alot of this money ends up in the hands of illegals who should be begging in their own country anyway.