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Play it smart with giving

We think a new initiative launched this year by The Salvation Army that allows people to use their smartphones to make a donation at a red kettle location is … well, smart.

Let’s face it — times are changing, and while we may not always think of charities as being the most innovative organizations around, The Salvation Army deserves a lot of credit for keeping up with some of the latest technology available.

The new initiative allows people to use a smartphone to scan Quick Response, or QR, codes to make a donation of $5 or $10 to the charity.

So the next time you’re tempted to walk past one of those red kettles while shaking your head and calling out, “No change,” you’d better think again. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can help.

Salvation Army spokesman Pat Patey told us that the new program is designed to deal with a growing social trend. Fewer and fewer people are carrying cash, he said, and The Salvation Army had to come up with a new way to collect donations.

As a result, the signs at the 400 red kettles across Denton, Tarrant, Collin, Dallas and Ellis counties now have a section where a QR code appears. Those with smartphones can use an app to scan the code and make a donation.

The charge comes up on the donor’s telephone bill, Patey said, so making the donation is fairly easy for consumers. The cost to The Salvation Army, he added, was no more expensive than printing up new signs.

One of the strengths of the QR code system, Patey said, is that each donor uses his or her own smartphone to make a donation. No one else touches the phone.

The new system provides a fast and easy way to donate, which we like.

One of the benefits of placing those red kettles outside of stores during the holidays is that they’re bound to be noticed, but placing the kettles in the path of harried shoppers could also be a drawback — how many of us want to stop and dig around in a pocket or purse to find a donation while we’re shopping?

But the new system should provide a faster and easier way to donate, so maybe more of us will take the time to give.

During the recent kettle campaign kickoff, officials said that The Salvation Army would be assisting about 700 families this year, and those folks are right here at home.

Why not play it smart the next time you see one of those red Salvation Army kettles and use your phone to help those in need?

It’s the neighborly thing to do.