Klein's ShopRite of Maryland, a member of the Wakefern Food Co-op trading under the ShopRite banner, teamed up with the City of Baltimore on December 15, 2012 to reduce gun violence in Baltimore. The Klein family had recently opened a new full-service supermarket on Perring Parkway in Parkville MD, on the boarder of North East Baltimore and is now in the process of opening a store in the Howard Park community of Baltimore. Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland understands the importance of partnering with local city officials to address the concerns of the communities we serve. Sometimes guns get stolen and are used to commit crimes in our communities. “Good for Guns” enables owners of guns to turn them in and receive a $100 ShopRite Gift Card- no questions asked. This program is meant to support our customers in making their streets and neighborhoods safer places to live, work, and play.
Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland sponsored the Goods for Guns event in December 2012 and is in the planning process for a second event in 2014, prior to the opening of our ShopRite of Howard Park. While the events are organized in partnership with nonprofit, UpLift Solutions, and the City’s elected officials along with the SWAT and Police Department, Klein’s donates the gift cards given as guns are redeemed. Klein’s also supported marketing and outreach for the event, because without ads on the radio and in other media outlets, we would have never gotten the overwhelming response we received at that first Goods for Guns event. That day, 461 guns were turned in over just 4 hours. Klein’s donated the $46,100 worth of gift cards as well as an additional $10,000 in advertising costs. We hope our 2014 event draws even more people, and we are prepared to sponsor that event in order to support our new community of customers.
This program allows community members to get unwanted guns out of their houses, away from their children. It also provides them with gift cards to purchase healthy, nourishing food for themselves and their families. It is a Win-Win, where we can demonstrate our care and concern for our customers, and they can receive money towards food for their family while making their neighborhood a safer place to live, work, and play.
The initial event was a great success, which resulted in 461 guns taken off the streets of Baltimore and $46,100 worth of gift cards distributed to local community members! Many of the guns that were returned contained live ammunition. There were stories of widows who wanted to get rid of their late husband’s guns, but didn’t know how. There were also stories of mothers who found that their child had a gun, but they were too afraid to get rid of it. The “no questions asked” policy is an essential element of this program. One person even returned 6 guns! We feel that this event was an important step towards reducing violence and we plan to continue sponsoring these events for as long as there is demand.
“Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland is proud to support our customers and local communities. Goods for Guns is just one example of our commitment to making our neighborhoods safer, healthier, and more vibrant places to live. This program not only gets unwanted guns off the street, it also gives people support in purchasing healthy food for themselves and their families.”-Marshall Klein