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A goodwill gesture by a giant grocery store chain offering customers a $25 gift card following charges of alleged bread price fixing could mean a lot of dough for Canadian food banks.

A London based grassroots movement encouraging Canadians to register for a Loblaw gift card and then donate it to a local food bank is gaining traction.

did see it on Facebook and I blasted it on my wall too, said Lynda Davidson who oversees the food bank at the Unemployed Help Centre and represents 15 more with the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association.

Davidson said donated cards would be a boon.

would help offset the stuff we don get regularly, she said. would be wonderful. Companies Ltd. announced its plan to offer customers a $25 gift card earlier this week after admitting the company participated in an industry wide bread price fixing conspiracy for almost 15 years.

Within hours of the announcement, people took to social media to express anger over the scam and then quickly lent their support to the rising notion of donating the cards for the betterment of the less fortunate.

seen it come up on social media, said Marzena Gersho, a spokesperson for Food Banks Canada. people want to donate a food card I know our food banks are happy to receive a donation of any kind. noted more than 800,000 Canadians use a food bank each month, with one in three of those clients being children.

a great deal of need, Gersho said.

In Ontario, 335,000 people visit a food bank each month.

Locally, Davidson said the coalition of food banks helped out more than 21,000 individuals between January and November of this year. Of those, 7,400 were children.

While holiday food drives help fill the shelves,
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Davidson said the donations don last through the year.

prediction is we be done by March, she said. go through it quickly. Dunn, executive director of the Downtown Mission, said the food cards would help when the snow melts in spring.

the Christmas season we have lots of food being dropped off. In June, however, those gift cards would come in real handy, he said.

Loblaw officials anticipate distributing between three to six million cards. If it six million, that would come with a $150 million price tag.

If the social media movement pushes totals higher, Loblaw officials publicly say they are unconcerned.

primary focus is really executing the program well, so we get money into the hands of individuals as quickly and efficiently as possible, said Kevin Groh, the company vice president of corporate affairs and communications. think (donation) is a lovely idea, as we already a leading contributor to food charities nationwide. With the card in hand, customers could easily buy food for themselves or for a food bank. CEO Galen G. Weston publicly apologized Tuesday. The registration period is expected to run from Jan. 8 to May 8. Registrants must meet age of majority requirements and they must declare they bought certain packaged bread products at one of the eligible banner stores before March 1, 2015.
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