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AmazonSmile to end February, impacting local organizations

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

In the most recent effort to cut down on costs, Amazon announced plans to close AmazonSmile, the company's charity donation program.

The program has been around since 2013 and donated $500 million over the past 10 years. Amazon says a “limited impact” is responsible for the program closing. The program is set to end the charity donation program by Feb. 20.

However, many local and statewide charities could feel the closures.

"You know, we may be a small foundation right now, but it helped us in big ways," Sherline Romph with Miracles 4 Margaret said. "All people had to do was shop like they did, they deposited into our account and we were able to buy supplies with it, whether it be making blankets or our bags."

The charity, Miracles 4 Margaret, is listed among millions of other organizations that recieved donations through AmazonSmile. Romph formed the organization in 2020 after losing her daughter to complications from a spinal cord injury.

Framed photos of Margaret on display next to bags prepared by the charity. Margaret's snow globe collection sits on a shelf nearby.

To honor Margaret's memory, the charity has donated over 5,000 blankets to those in need. The home page of the website of the charity displays a purple map of the U.S. with 38 states filled with glitter, signifying how far the charity has reached. Margaret loved purple and glitter, Romph said.

AmazonSmiles donated over $100 dollars to the cause.

The program is linked through Amazon accounts. Whatever is bought through Amazon, 0.5% of the purchases can be donated to a charity of the shopper's choice. How many charities are listed on the website could be part of the issue. An amazon spokesperson said the average charity has gotten less than $230 from Amazon.

More than a million charities are listed as options. When you type “Missouri” in the charity search bar, over 4,000 results are returned. A few local charity options include Feeding Missouri in Columbia, the Missouri FFA and the Missouri Valley Fire Association. Before the shutters are officially closed, amazon says all charities in the program will get a one-time donation equal to three months of what they earned in 2022.

Still, Romph hopes to continue the mission, regardless of the extra cash.

"It's comforting to know that it makes people happy and hopefully gives them some comfort like it gave Margaret," Romph added.

Those interested in donating or know someone who may be in need of a blanket can visit the charity's website, or their Facebook page.

Piles of blankets prepared to be sent to those in need.
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Abby Landwehr

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