Loblaws gift card a potential boon for Ottawa Food Bank

The head of the Ottawa Food Bank says he is encouraged by the number of people offering to donate gift cards they receive from Loblaws for the grocer's role in fixing the price of bread.

People promising over Twitter to donate $25 cards from Loblaws

The Ottawa Food Bank says dozens of people have committed to donating their $25 gift cards. (David Donnelly/CBC)

The head of the Ottawa Food Bank says he is encouraged by the number of people offering to donate gift cards they receive from Loblaws for the grocer's role in fixing the price of bread.

Monday was the first day consumers were able to sign up to receive a $25 gift card from Loblaws after the grocer offered the cards as an olive branch for their role in fixing the price of bread for more than a decade.

It wasn't long after that food bank executive director Michael Maidment began to see dozens of people on Twitter offering to pass on the cards to the non-profit agency.

"It just began organically, and people just started to contact us to ask questions, and we said 'Sure, here are the ways you can donate,'" Maidment said.

The gift cards are available to people who bought one of 12 brands of packaged bread products between 2002 and 2015 and who apply online by May 8. The cards themselves have no expiry date but must be used for food products.

"People have even registered for a gift card and then just donated cash, and not wait the time for the gift card to arrive," Maidment said.

Maidment said it is too early to tell how many people are donating or how much the food bank will receive, but he said "more and more people are coming forward" with promises to donate their cards.

Maidment said any donation — be it gift card, cash or items purchased with the gift card — is welcome.

The agency spends $1.5 million on food each year to stock its warehouse and distribute to its partners, who reach 41,500 people every month.