Frequently Asked Questions

The Shop2Help Gift Card Program was developed as a way for the community to support small businesses in Oakland’s central business district as they continue to battle through the difficulties brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Business has ground to a halt, universities have restricted in-person learning, workers have shifted to telecommuting, and visitors continue to practice social distancing and gathering restrictions, meaning many small businesses in a community that relies heavily on what is typically a large influx of people coming into and through Oakland on a daily basis have lost the majority of their income. Buying gift cards is an easy way to support your favorite restaurants, retailers, and service businesses, even when you can’t visit. For many businesses managing operations on a day-to-day basis, gift card sales alone can be the extra boost that helps them keep their doors open.

The Shop2Help Gift Card Program is made possible through a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation that has given Oakland Business Improvement District the opportunity to provide the 40% bonus incentive. The program will end when grant funding is depleted, though there is no way to know for sure when that will be. Similar program funding in Pittsburgh has been depleted within a matter of weeks, sometimes days, so we recommend taking advantage of the opportunity quickly.

More importantly, these Oakland businesses can really use our help as they continue to battle the economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, so the sooner you take advantage of this incentive, the sooner the businesses will receive the funds, and the sooner the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will receive their donations. Thank you for participating! Your support during these times is invaluable.

A receipt/proof of purchase will be sent to your email immediately after your purchase has been completed. It will include a list of the merchants/businesses for which you bought gift cards from and the value of those cards. Make sure that you save your receipt, so that you have a proof of purchase in the event of any discrepancies.

The physical gift cards, gift certificates, or digital voucher codes will be mailed to you in 7-14 days from your date of purchase. Review the Terms & Conditions here for additional information.

In most instances, you will be able to redeem your gift card(s) immediately upon receipt of the physical gift card, gift certificate, or digital voucher code in the mail. Each business, however, may have their own rules, policies, or restrictions on how and where the gift cards can be redeemed, which will be noted along with the purchase when it arrives. Always check with the merchant/business issuing the gift card directly for details. See the program Terms & Conditions page for more information.

Please note that, given the ongoing COVID-19 economic impacts, not all businesses may survive. That is exactly why this program exists, but of course, there is always a chance that a business for which you have a gift card may temporarily or permanently close after having been included on this marketplace. Additionally, some businesses may be selling gift cards today despite not currently being open, and are set up to only accept these gift cards after they reopen their stores for in-person sales. We recommend calling or emailing the individual business if you have any questions about redemption. See Terms & Conditions page for more information on the purchaser’s risks with any gift card program.

Also note that any, if not all, gift cards purchased here can be redeemed at the businesses directly, and typically cannot be used on mobile ordering apps like GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, etc.

If you have any questions or run into any issues when attempting to redeem a gift card in the future, please consult directly with the merchant/business, or email for additional assistance. Though Oakland Business Improvement District, as the Program Administrator, and our partners are not responsible for resolving, refunding, or otherwise getting involved in any discrepancy, we will help to the best of our ability.

Depending on date of purchase, your receipt may be sent from or If you do not see the email within a few minutes after your purchase has been completed, first – check your spam or junk folder! These kinds of emails sometimes have a tendency to end up there. If you still to not receive an email receipt, don’t worry. We will have a log of all transactions and will work with you to resolve the issue, so email us at to request assistance. If you have saved your order confirmation number after checkout, this will help immensely in tracking down your order and getting you a receipt for your purchase(s).

Sure! Just be sure to list the recipient’s mailing address as your shipping address. You can also forward over any redemption communications to them via email. Be aware that if you use PayPal to complete the transaction, your gift card(s) may be shipped automatically to the billing address associated with your PayPal account. If this occurs, it is out of our control because we are only provided with specific payment information.

Program participation is limited to Oakland Business Improvement District members from Oakland’s central business district. We have made several attempts to involve all OBID member businesses in the program at launch, but if your favorite business is located within the district and is not yet listed, please let them know about the program! They may have opted out, but if not, you can share a link to the Business Registration page here to help get them started.

If you’re in the central business district, yes! Read more about the program and complete the business registration form here. If you meet program requirements, the Program Administrator at Oakland Business Improvement District will contact you to take the next steps.

This program is a direct result of the contributions from countless community organizations, foundations, partners, vendors, business owners, family, friends, and neighbors. To name just a few: Oakland Business Improvement District, Richard King Mellon Foundation, Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, Facture, Community Human Services, CHiKN, Stack’d, participating Oakland businesses, and everyone living, working, going to school, and visiting Oakland every day.

For questions about the program or technical issues, contact the Program Administrator at

For questions or issues about gift card terms, conditions, rules, and policies, start by contacting the merchant/business who issued the gift card. If issues persist, please contact and we will try to help to the best of our ability. Consult the Terms & Conditions page for more information.