Posted by Sudhin Shah

Did you know that the gift card industry generates around $45 billion in revenue? And that at least 10% of cards go unused? Andre and Jeff Shinabarger discussed this with Heather and Jason Locy over dinner one night and they came up with an idea: Why not collect unused gift cards for distribution to those in need? Fundraising began immediately and they left the party with over $50 in unused gift cards.

I probably have a few unused gift cards myself, and like many, I’ve often thrown away the last few dollars because I couldn’t figure out how to spend it. Gift Card Giver is here to help. It collects these unused dollars and distributes them to those in need. It has already donated over $10,000 worth of gift cards. Charities such as Laundry Love, Disaster Relief Project, Essential 2 Life, and Prison Entrepreneurship Program receive its support.

Most donations, however, are made directly to individuals and families. For example, last Christmas when the home of a mother and her five children was broken into and all their Christmas gifts were stolen, Gift Card Giver used $500 in gift card dollars to buy them gifts, clothes and groceries. Stories like this are included on its website to inspire people to contribute their gift cards.

Gift Card Giver’s grassroots campaign has mobilized thousands to donate. Prompted by the dinner when the Shinabargers and Locys first collected gift cards for donation, many donors host and attend House Parties to bring in others. Penny by penny, dollar by dollar, Gift Card Giver is making a difference.

Gift Card Giver

Sudhin Shah's writing can also be seen on her blog Giving Back.

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