Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op is "Raising the Ante." That's what they are calling one of their fundraisers that promotes recycling and giving back to local charities.
"This year alone we have raised over $2,000," marketing director John Bryant said.
He says giving is simple. All customers who bring their own bag receive a poker chip from the cashier. Customers then deposit that poker chip at the Raising the Ante donation counter at the front of the store.
It's worth 5 cents to the non-profit of your choice. The Co-op will tally up the poker chips along with the cash donations and write a check to the featured non-profits each month.
"We are taking the money we spend on those unused bags and giving it back to the community," Bryant said.
Customers can also make a monetary donation to the charity of their choice.
Four charities are featured each month.
Since the program began in November 2010, Co-op shoppers have saved over 168,000 bags and donated nearly $11,000 to charities in the Roanoke Valley and Southwest Virginia.