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Online shopping helps fundraise for local parishes and schools


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BRAINTREE -- When you think about giving money to your local parish or Catholic school, the Catholic Appeal or the offertory at Sunday Mass probably comes to mind. What likely doesn't come to mind, however, is donating money simply by shopping online.

Yet, that's the idea behind AmazonSmile, a website created by the online retailer company Amazon.

Launched back in 2013, AmazonSmile is essentially Amazon.com, containing most of the same products at the same prices, but with a twist -- For every item that a user purchases, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5 percent of that item's cost to an eligible charitable organization of the shopper's choice at no additional cost.

According to the AmazonSmile website, there are around one million eligible charities to choose from, and a quick search will find that many parishes, Catholic organizations, and Catholic schools, including colleges, grade schools, and seminaries, under the Archdiocese of Boston are listed as eligible charities.

The AmazonSmile website clarifies that "100 percent of the donation amount generated from your eligible purchase on AmazonSmile will be donated," and while these donations are not tax deductible, they also do not come at any additional cost to the shopper.

To sign up for AmazonSmile, visit smile.amazon.com and sign in with an Amazon.com account, or create a new one altogether. After that, a charity may be chosen. Only one may be picked at a time, but the website notes that it may be changed at any time.

All subsequent purchases from Amazon must be made through smile.amazon.com, rather than Amazon.com, for the donations to be made, but creating a desktop link or bookmark to the website is an easy way to make sure this happens.

Sandy Barry, Director of Annual Giving at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, told The Pilot that the seminary recently registered with AmazonSmile. She hopes donations will help "support the everyday needs of the future parish priests here at SJS."

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