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Salvation Army Turning Unused Gift Cards Into Cash

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

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RALEIGH, N.C. — 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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