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Amazon’s Alexa can help you donate school supplies to a child in need

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If you have some spare cash and like the idea of donating a backpack full of school supplies to a student in need, then just tell Alexa.

Simply say, “Alexa, donate to Happy School Year,” and Amazon’s digital assistant will take you through a few steps to help you confirm your order. The backpack will then be shipped to nonprofit organization Communities in Schools for distribution to U.S. students.

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Each donation costs $25 and can be made through September 9, 2019. As part of its charity initiative, Amazon has promised to match customer pledges to the first $200,000.

Inside each backpack a student will find a set of pens and pencils, a ruler, and a notebook — enough to give them a solid start to the new school year.

Thanks from Shaq

When you say the magic words to Alexa, you’ll hear a special “thank you” message from Shaquille O’Neal, who’s currently a member of the Communities in Schools National Board.

The basketball legend Amazon is also teaming up with Amazon and Zappos for Good (Zappo’s charity effort) to host back-to-school donation events throughout the summer.

“Education is an important foundation for success,” O’Neal said. “With the ‘Shaq-to-school’ program, we provide classroom essentials to kids who need them most, allowing them to concentrate on their studies. Thanks to Amazon and Zappos, we’ll reach even more kids with our donations this year.”

Donating via voice

Perfect for anyone who finds navigating a charity’s website or writing out a check just too much hassle, Amazon now lets you use Alexa to donate to a range of charities. Simply call out the amount you want to pledge, and the charity you want to give to, and Amazon will automatically deduct the amount from your account. You’ll receive an email to confirm your cash gift, which gives you a chance to contest it in case Alexa misunderstood what you said.

Google Assistant also offers a way to make donations via short spoken commands.  To do so you’ll first need to make sure that you’ve already enabled Google Assistant Payments, which enables you to make purchases and reservations via voice.

Then all you need to do is say: “Hey Google, donate to charity,” or “OK Google, make a donation.” Google Assistant will then ask you for the name of the organization and how much you’d like to donate. Finally, you’ll be prompted to confirm the details … and you’re done!

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