One of the goals is to reach people in their late teens or 20s who don't have a connection to The Salvation Army's decades-old tradition of red kettles.
Another goal is to raise $125,000 through its red kettles. That's just part of the agency's total holiday campaign goal of $340,000, which is also raised via mail appeals and other donations.
Officials at the agency say the money supports programs for the needy, like its financial aid for utilities, mortgage and rent payments, along with Christmas food and toys for about 1,500 local families.
Kitchens, whose wife has volunteered to ring the Army bells in the past, said the game evolved out of staff meetings. They started talking about some kind of scavenger hunt tied to the kettle campaign.
They thought of using the Internet or GPS -- something to make it easy to track and to avoid paperwork -- and then explored using QR codes. Kitchens found a scavenger hunt in Europe where contestants tracked down badges of a Mini Cooper car, with the actual car going to the winner.
Kitchens then linked up with a one-man company, QR Wild, that specializes in setting up the digital platform for QR games.
Dustin Runnells in Rochester, N.Y., said he began QR Wild last year. He usually makes QR games for use within a specific group, like the one he set up to engage educators at a conference.
But, since "Finding Christmas" is open to the public, he said it pushed him to set up a more complex game with a wider scope.
Only 100 or more badges to go until Christmas.
Staff writer Joseph Dits: