Nanaimo residents offer up bread price-fixing gift cards to local food bank

By NanaimoNewsNOW Staff
January 12, 2018 - 6:09pm

Loaves and Fishes executive director Peter Sinclair says people are already offering to donate gift cards they receive from Loblaws.Ian Holmes/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — With a Canadian grocery giant set to hand out millions of gift cards, it appears some in Nanaimo are already looking for ways to put that money back into the community.

Loblaws, which also operates Real Canadian Superstore, is giving out $25 gift cards as a goodwill gesture after admitting to taking part in an illegal bread price-fixing scheme over more than a decade.

Following that announcement, a social media movement called for people to donate the money to local food banks.

Peter Sinclair, executive director of Nanaimo Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank, said it wasn't something that crossed his mind.

"We were approached by several people who said 'Hey, when we get this gift card, would you guys take it?' My immediate response was 'Yes, we will definitely accept.'"

Sinclair said cash is king for the food bank, adding they use gift cards to fill in any holes in the food they have to hand out.

"Typically we spend them on eggs to make sure every time someone comes in we've got eggs for them.

"It's just people who want to give back and do the right thing," Sinclair said.

Earlier this week, Save-On-Foods also decided to offer the gift cards to More Rewards members. The grocer said while they weren't involved in the price-fixing, it's possible their customers were overcharged for bread because of the scheme.

Loblaws expected to give out anywhere from three to six million gift cards across Canada.

Sinclair noted their food bank actually saw a rare decline in usage in 2017, helping just over 7,600 different people, about 400 less than 2016. He said it's hard to pinpoint an exact reason why.

"We're just happy to see that number going down."

He encouraged anyone else looking to donate their gift cards to reach out.

"We work really hard to make sure people have every opportunity to give to us and this is a great way to do it. We will gratefully accept and put them to good use in the community."

You can sign up to receive a gift card from Loblaws here and Save-On-Foods here.


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