Local Salvation Army pilots MessageWrap tech for Red Kettle donations

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Customers waiting to check out can use their Apple or Android device to scan the code of one of three different denominations and contribute a secure gift in as little as 30 seconds. Courtesy Salvation Army

The local Salvation Army division is harnessing a Grand Rapids company’s technology to allow customers to make fast and easy contactless donations to the nonprofit’s Red Kettle Campaign in the checkout lane at two area grocery stores.

The Salvation Army of Western Michigan and Northern Indiana, based in Grand Rapids, said it formed a partnership with Harding’s Markets in Kalamazoo and Wayland in which the stores have allowed QR-coded red kettles to be imprinted on patented MessageWrap checkout lane conveyor belts, invented and manufactured in Grand Rapids by Handstand Innovations and Mol Belting Systems, to let customers make fast and easy donations to the Red Kettle Campaign as they pay for their groceries.

Customers waiting to check out can use their Apple or Android device to scan the code of one of three different denominations and contribute a secure gift in as little as 30 seconds. All of the funds donated will stay within the same ZIP code as the Harding’s location and will support The Salvation Army in the services it provides at Christmas and year-round, including addressing food insecurity.

This pilot partnership with Harding’s marks the first time in the U.S. a Red Kettle Campaign donation QR code has been featured on a grocery store conveyer belt cover, and it has the potential to become a seasonal approach on a larger scale, The Salvation Army said.

“We appreciate the ingenuity of Mol Belting Systems in the development of this additional opportunity to safely help The Salvation Army help others,” said Glen Caddy, divisional commander for The Salvation Army of Western Michigan and Northern Indiana. “We are grateful to them and Harding’s Markets for piloting this project on our behalf.”

The MessageWrap QR code scan opportunity at the Harding’s locations at 300 Reno Drive in Wayland and 5161 W. Main in Kalamazoo is in addition to The Salvation Army’s other contactless giving options, which includes Kettle Pay, Virtual Red Kettle and online donations.

“With the need greater than ever, the Harding’s team is happy to be partnering with The Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign,” said Mike VanderLind, director of operations at Harding’s Markets.

The Salvation Army

Founded in 1865 in the East End of London, The Salvation Army is a nonprofit with 7,600 centers of operation around the U.S. that help more than 30 million Americans facing issues such as poverty, addiction and economic hardships through a range of social services.

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