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Guns for food

Philadelphia residents have one last chance this year to turn in guns, no questions asked, in exchange for $100 worth of groceries. Tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., anyone who hands in a gun at one of two locations gets a $100 gift card from Shop Rite (people who turn in more than one gun can get a maximum of two gift cards).

The "Goods for Guns" swap, arranged by the community action group Philadelphia Safety Net (PSN) with cooperation from the police department, Shop Rite, other businesses and State Senator Anthony H. Williams of the 8th District, will take place at the Meyers Recreation Center, at 58th and Kingsessing Streets in Southwest Philadelphia's Kingsessing section, and also at the Lonnie Young Recreation Center at Chelten  and Ardleigh avenues in East Germantown.

A similar event held in October resulted in the collection of more than 300 guns, said Ray Jones, executive director of PSN, and the group hopes to raise that number to close to 1,000 by the end of Saturday.

Jeff Brown, of Shop Rite, said the event is a good opportunity for families to add to their food budget.

"You can turn in a handgun that's going to do no good, and you can turn it into a good meal," he said.

Deputy Police Commissioner William Blackburn said the police always brace for a spike in crimes around the holidays, when families come together and there's the potential for arguments.

"This gives the community a chance to do something about the violence in their neighborhood," he said.