Ice storm: demand for gift cards outpaces supply
Chris Kitching, CP24.com
Published Thursday, January 2, 2014 10:18AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 2, 2014 7:33PM EST
The overwhelming demand for grocery store gift cards that are being handed out to Toronto ice storm victims continued to outpace the supply Thursday, with dozens of people being turned away when at least one location ran out of vouchers almost immediately.
For the second time this week, hundreds lined up before the Golden Mile employment and social services office opened but the cards disappeared quickly, leaving people feeling frustrated and unhappy with the way the cards are being distributed.
Despite being told to come back Friday, dozens who didn’t receive a card opted to stay in line, just in case the office’s supply was replenished. More cards arrived later in the afternoon. The same situation played out Tuesday, the first day the cards were distributed.
About $500,000 worth of gift cards have been distributed to more than 5,000 families so far with more expected to be handed out Friday.
The $100 and $50 gift cards are intended for people who cannot afford to replace food that spoiled during power outages caused by an ice storm that struck nearly two weeks ago.
The Golden Mile office at Eglinton and Pharmacy avenues is one of 15 Ontario Works locations in Toronto where the cards are being given away.
Click here for a list of locations and hours.
The cards were donated by major grocery retailers and the province is matching donations up to $100,000. About $160,000 worth of cards were handed out Tuesday. The offices were closed New Year's Day.
Friday is scheduled to be the final day of the program in Toronto and the initiative is set to be expanded to other communities in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Toronto Hydro says it has resolved all of the power outages following the ice storm. Dozens of customers who were forced to repair structural damage are waiting for their electricity to be reconnected.
With files from CP24 reporter Nathan Downer.
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