Manitobans encouraged to donate unwanted gift cards to support Syrian refugees

Manitobans with unwanted gift cards from Christmas past can now donate them toward a good cause. accepting gift card donations to benefit the Red Cross has launched a new charity campaign that allows people to donate the cash value of gift cards to the Red Cross' Syrian refugee efforts. (CBC)

Manitobans with unwanted gift cards from Christmas past can now donate them toward a good cause. launched a new charity campaign which allows people to donate the cash value of gift cards to the Red Cross' Syrian refugee efforts. 

The Canadian website's main business focuses on selling and trading unwanted gift cards online

"People receive a lot of gift cards during the holiday time and in January they end up with the ones that they probably are not going to use," said Frances Ho, co-founder of "We turn it [the gift card] into cash and they get the cash value for it and they spend it on what they actually need." 

The company will be accepting donated cards to help Syrian refugees during the month of January. It converts the cards to cash for the donation. 

The cash value of the donated card paid out by to the Red Cross varies from 60 to 92 per cent of its face value. 

Red Cross aware of campaign 

"Yes, the Red Cross does have a relationship with Card Swap," said Diana Coulter, a spokesperson for the Red Cross.

"They approached us and said they wanted to take this approach and perhaps offer people this opportunity to donate to the Syrian refugee fund."

Coulter called the idea unique and welcomed Canadians to support any campaign of their choice for the refugee initative. 

Ho estimates up to 1 in 4 gift cards aren't redeemed by those who receive them. 

The gift card campaign comes amid news that more than 6,000 of the promised 25,000 Syrian refugees have been settled in Canada to date. Manitoba has been told to expect about 2,000 of the government-sponsored refugees