How Unclaimed Baggage Uses Lost Gift Cards to Give Back

At Unclaimed Baggage, we regularly give back to our community through our Reclaimed for Good program. Most of the time we donate clothing and shoes, as well as products such as eyeglasses and medical equipment, to partner organizations that can use these items to meet widespread needs.

In addition to our usual unclaimed items, we often find gift cards in the unclaimed bags we purchase. People travel with all kinds of gift cards: cards from big box retail stores, prepaid debit cards, cards for restaurants and more. 

These gift cards are a significant asset to our giving efforts within our local community. They allow us to provide food and other necessities to those in need beyond the items we regularly have available to donate.

Each week we check the balance of all gift cards we receive and record the amounts currently on the cards. Then we donate them back into the community to churches, schools, individuals traveling for extended medical treatments, charitable organizations and more. Over the past two years alone, we have donated more than $60,000 worth of gift cards.

Helping St. Luke’s Feed Those in Need

We’ve recently had the privilege to work with our local St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, whose food pantry serves many families and elderly members of our community. Due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the need for their services have understandably increased.

To meet these growing needs, St. Luke’s decided to add a safe “drive thru” and an additional day to their serving rotation, which their staff estimated would require an extra $400 to $500.  This need was passed along to our team, and that very week, while processing a piece of luggage, a team member found a prepaid MasterCard gift card with a balance of $449––the perfect amount to help the church kickstart their extra day of meals! It’s uncommon to find a single card with such a large balance, but this card matched the exact need at the exact right time. And since then, more gift cards have been found to support the pantry.

Summing It Up

Our company mission is to redeem the lost, unclaimed and rejected for the glory of God. While we give lost items a second life by cleaning, processing and selling them at a discount to our customers, we also, just as importantly, are able to redeem the lives of people who are somehow lost or in need through our Reclaimed for Good program. Sometimes we’re able to meet those needs in amazing, timely ways, as was possible with the gift cards for St. Luke’s. These are the stories that brighten our days and imbue them with purpose.

You can help too. Food pantries across the US are being depleted as more and more people lose their jobs and are unable to feed their families due to COVID-19. To assist with this growing need for food across America, contact St. Luke’s (256-574-6216) or a food pantry in your local area, or support an organization like The Salvation Army, which helps eradicate hunger across America. By serving and giving to each other, we will make it through this unexpected, difficult time.