Philadelphia residents were to have a chance Saturday to turn in guns, no questions asked, in exchange for $100 worth of groceries.
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., anyone who handed in a gun at one of two sites was to get a $100 gift card from ShopRite. People who turned in more than one gun could 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, ShopRite, other businesses, and State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (D., Phila.), was to take place at the Francis Myers Recreation Center, at 58th and Kingsessing Streets in Southwest Philadelphia, and the Lonnie Young Recreation Center, at Chelten Avenue and Ardleigh Street in East Germantown.
A similar event in October resulted in the collection of more than 300 guns, said Ray Jones, executive director of PSN. He said the group hoped to raise that number to close to 1,000 by the end of Saturday.
Jeff Brown, who operates 10 ShopRite stores in the area, said the event was a good opportunity for families to add to their food budget.
"You can turn in a handgun that's going to do no good," he said, "and you can turn it into a good meal."
Deputy Police Commissioner William Blackburn said police always brace for a spike in crimes around the holidays, when families come together and the potential for arguments increases.
"This gives the community a chance," he said, "to do something about the violence in their neighborhood."