Restaurant finds unique way to collect gifts for those in need - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Restaurant finds unique way to collect gifts for those in need


MADISON (WKOW)-- The day after Christmas people pack the stores making returns, but while many shoppers were waiting in line, a handful decided to trade those unwanted gifts.

AJ Bombers bar and restaurant is willing to take those gifts off your hands and are even willing to pay you back in free food.

"If you've got a bad gift and you haven't opened it yet, just bring it into us," manager Ed Volkema says. "We'll give you a free burger and we'll take the gift and donate it to people that need it."

Managers say all of the presents will be donated to the local Salvation Army. Managers want to partner with a different community group each year so they can put the presents to good use.

"It's just a nice thing to do you know. A lot of kids get gifts that a lot of them aren't going to use," kitchen manager Scott Sellnow says.

The whole idea started when a group of loyal customers came into the restaurant the day after Christmas and offered to trade their unwanted gifts for free burgers. Managers thought it was such a great idea that they decided to turn it into an annual event.

"It seemed like a pretty decent deal," customer Krista Luedtke says.

Luedtke and her family saw the promotion on facebook and decided to bring three of their unwanted gifts. She wasn't worried about friends or family members getting upset because the box of Legos, food processor and holiday ornament she donated were all given by people who were with her at the restaurant.

"We're giving it to someone who can use it," the family chuckles. "Plus we're getting free burgers, so it's a win-win."

Managers at AJ Bombers will continue the regifting promotion Friday. Anyone who brings in an unopened and unwanted gift will be able to pick out any of the burgers from the menu. As of Thursday evening they were only able to get a handful of gifts here in Madison, but last year workers say they collected nearly 20 gifts.

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