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UPDATE: Where to get free grocery-store gift cards for those who lost food during the ice storm

Groceries. You never notice them until they're gone. (Image: Danielle Scott)

Groceries. You never notice them until they’re gone. (Image: Danielle Scott)

Here’s some news you can use if you were without power for several days and the inside of your fridge looks like an abandoned petri dish. The Ontario government has managed to amass more than $100,000 worth of gift cards from Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro, Sobeys and Louie Coppa Family (operators of Highland Farms), plus $100,000 more in matching donations directly from Queen’s Park. From today until Friday, the gift cards will be distributed to people in need who lost food during last week’s storm-related power failures. Individuals will receive $50 each, and families will get $100. (UPDATE: The vouchers are already in very short supply. See below.)

Everyone who wants a card should bring proof of address to one of these 15 Ontario Works offices:

Golden Mile
Employment & Social Services
1880 Eglinton Ave. E.

Lawrence Square
Employment & Social Services
700 Lawrence Ave. W.
East Tower, 3rd Floor, Suite 330

Consilium Place
Employment & Social Services
100 Consilium Pl., 10th Floor

Attwell Employment & Social Services
220 Atwell Dr., Suite 4

North York East
Employment & Social Services
20 Lesmill Rd.

Scarborough West
Employment & Social Services
1225 Kennedy Rd., Unit 1

Employment & Social Services
605 Rogers Rd.

Scarborough North
Employment & Social Services
325 Milner Ave., 9th floor

Employment & Social Services
1631 Queen St. E.

Wellesley Place
Employment & Social Services
111 Wellesley St. E.

Etobicoke South
Employment & Social Services
779 The Queensway

High Park Parkdale
Employment & Social Services
1900 Dundas St. W.

North York Central
Employment & Social Services
1117 Finch Ave. W.

Metro Hall
Employment & Social Services
214 Wellington St. W.

Yonge Eglinton
Employment & Social Services
150 Eglinton Ave. E., Suite 900


UPDATE: Looks like the gift card program has hit a pretty major snag. The first-come-first-serve system of distribution means that many of the above-listed centres ran out of cards before noon today—the first day of the program. Deputy mayor Norm Kelly is asking people to be patient, and saying that more cards will arrive at the centres as the week goes on. 65,000 vouchers were on-hand this morning.

  • Dave Auger

    The math doesn’t add up.. gift card value $100 each, Queen’s Park raised $100,000 from chains such as Loblaw’s and Metro and City hall says 65,000 cards were available this morning.. I am not sure but $100 x 65,000 cards = $6,500,000. So who is lying, the city of Toronto or Queen’s Park… publicity stunt gone wrong perhaps

  • dublaich

    It would be a pretty obvious lie wouldn’t it? Surely it seems more likely that there was $65,000 *worth* of vouchers… and a message gone slightly awry?

  • Annie9788

    The Ontario government has managed to amass more than $100,000 worth of gift cards from Loblaws, Shoppers Drug Mart, Metro, Sobeys and Louie Coppa Family (operators of Highland Farms), plus $100,000 more in matching donations directly from Queen’s Park.

    From the statement above it appears they have $200,000 only.

    65,000 x $100 = $6,500,000 or 65,000 x $50 = $3,250,000.

    Its pretty obvioius, they are lying.

  • dublaich

    Right – that’s kind of my point… if you and every one of us can so easily surmise that the number is incorrect, surely “they” wouldn’t bother trying to fool us? Wouldn’t it make more sense to wonder if Steve Kupferman based his article on a tweet vs. an official release? I don’t care either way – it’s just that the more logical conclusion is that the 65,000 number was misunderstood by the original City Hall staffer. Making it more like broken telephone, rather than evil empire. It’s certainly not as exciting of an answer but I’d be willing to bet it’s the truth!

  • Dave Auger

    Well the latest City Hall stated was 65,000 cards that were a mix of $100 for families and $50 for single individuals. But even if they were all $50 cards that math still does not add up. The city staffer who gave the information was Deputy Mayor Kelly, he also stated that the city has nothing to do with this project other than helping to facilitate it’s distribution.

  • Tessie

    Would it be better just to mail these cards to all the recipients based on areas hit by the power outage. Am sure they have records of the addresses affected by this..for how long.

  • Pamela Fox

    That’s exactly what I think should happen, have we not been inconvenienced enough already…… I was without power for 7 days, I had to empty my fridge completely.

  • Joe

    Do they even care about other people who may be affected in other towns? Like Lindsay.