Ice storm gift cards run out

More frustration for those that threw out freezers full of food

Hundreds of people who braved several days in the cold and were forced to throw out fridges and freezers full of food suffered another frustration on Tuesday.

They were turned away from an Ontario Works office at Eglinton and Victoria Park when the office ran out of grocery gift cards being handed out to those that had lost food during the ice storm.

The program was unveiled Monday by the provincial government and would see dollar amounts of gift cards donated by various grocery stores matched by Queen's Park.

Those that were looking for gift cards said hundreds lined up at the Eglinton and Victoria Park location but only 100 individuals and families were given the cards. Many leaving empty handed were angry and frustrated.

"I got my hopes up coming here," said Laurel who lives on Danforth in East York. Her power was out for "four or fives days" and she believes she lost about $300 dollars worth of food. "I thought they would have enough for people to at least get something."


"I don't think I'm going to get (a gift card)," said Dan who was quickly rejected when he asked city staff to reimburse the money he spent in gas getting to the location only to leave with nothing. "I'm going out of town in a couple of days. This was my pretty much only chance to get the money."

"For a city this size (to) only have a (small amount) of gift cards to hand out and people come down here just to find that out? It's ridiculous," said Andrew who lives in Scarborough near Warden and St. Clair. His power was out for several days and believes he lost hundreds of dollars worth of food.

"They haven't really done anything. You'd figure they would have given us more."

The Premier's office said Tuesday that demand on the first day of the gift card program was "overwhelming" and that the more than two dozen offices handing them out would be replenished later in the day.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the program was rolled out quickly.

"Sometimes when you work quickly, you don't dot all the i's and you don't cross all the t's. This program, like everything else (during the ice storm) was done as quickly as possible."

For those that did manage to secure a gift card ($100 for families, $50 for individuals), the money made a difference.

"It's a help," says Patti, who lost power for four days and lost "everything" she had in the fridge and freezer thanks to the ice storm. "It won't replace everything but it'll help."

Her neighbour Judy was also appreciative.

"Now at least I've got something so I can start replenishing little by little. It's only $100 but you know what? $100 is like $100 right now."

Despite the frustration from some, the province says 1600 families were given gift cards worth around $160, 000.

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  1. AC posted on 12/31/2013 04:36 PM
    I don't notice anywhere in the article how you prove you lost groceries during the period. correct me if I missed it. I'm sure all kinds would line up. Unfortunate situation but can't put much blame considering
  2. Joe posted on 01/01/2014 07:28 AM
    Let me see now! It was pretty cold during the power outages! We put our frozen food and food that required refrigeration out on our balcony in containers. Our neighbours across the street put their food in the garage and on their porch! Now I am sure there are legitimate losses of food but are people so dumb that they cannot take some very simple actions to preserve their food!
  3. Jackie posted on 01/01/2014 09:24 AM
    This may sound heartless but these folks will get reimbursed in a round about way, their hydo bills will be significantly lower next month.
    1. GregH_5652 posted on 01/01/2014 12:58 PM
      @Jackie That will only account for the hydro that was not available to them, not the food that spoiled.
  4. john posted on 01/02/2014 11:13 AM
    the amount of money thay fuck$%$$ed form us i think hydro should pay us the money back so we can buy food .
  5. Walter posted on 01/02/2014 02:31 PM
    How could 300,000 customers times $100 per family (which in my world equals $30M), be satisfied by a fund with $460,000 in it. What ridiculous financial planning does this show? More evidence that this current government can not do anything right.
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