By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Last year's tough economic times had a huge impact on charities across the state.
The Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign came in under goal, but your leftover Christmas gifts could help the organization make budget.
Chances are you probably got a gift card or gave one away this holiday season, and now what you don't use can be changed into cash and used for a worthy cause.
With a struggling economy, donations are down and that affects many who are in dire need of help. Bell ringing donations are down $50,000 compared to a year ago. Not only could the Salvation Army use your spare change, they could use your gift cards as well.
"Some of them only have a couple of cents, some people just donate the entire gift card," Heide Brandes, Salvation Army Community Relations Director, said. "They can't use it or they feel it's better to give it to a charity, which is very nice."
Now that Christmas has come and gone, the gifts are either stacking up or going out fast.
"Even if it's just a couple of pennies, we can still use those gift cards," Brandes said.
As you hand over your unused gift cards to The Salvation Army, then they send it to a local company that converts the cards into cash.
"When you get about 50, 60 gift cards, a couple of dollars left on them, it can really add up and it can supplement programs where we need funding," Brandes said.
The money goes into much needed programs, from the food pantry, the senior center to helping the homeless. An estimated $30 million are thrown away from gift cards not used.
"We can take any kind of gift card," Brandes said. "We can take restaurant gift cards, we can take retail gift cards, we can take service gift cards; if it's a gift card we can take it."
The Oklahoma City Salvation Army said they get about 30 gift cards donated to them every month.
To donate gift cards to Salvation Army, mail them to or drop them off at:
The Salvation Army
311 S.W. 5th
Oklahoma City, OK 73101