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. It also provides an opportunity for these small businesses to make a contribution to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank with every purchase.

When the pandemic hit, business ground to a halt, universities were restricted to in-person learning, workers shifted to telecommuting full-time, and visitors continue to practice social distancing and gathering restrictions. All of this meant that 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  –lost the majority of their revenue and are still recuperating from those losses today as they prepare for another winter and possible resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.

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 through the spring.

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. Thanks in part to additional funding from Dollar Bank, the program has been extended as of January 1, 2022, and will now end on March 31, 2022, or when gift cards sell out – whichever comes first.

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 when you redeem them.

Orders are filled within 7 days of purchase (often much sooner). If you select “Free Delivery via USPS” then your order will be mailed through the US Postal Service. No tracking information is available.

If you select “Local pickup in Oakland” you *must* be able to pickup in-person in Central Oakland. The pickup address and pickup hours will be sent to you as soon as your order is ready for pickup. You must bring a valid ID and copy of your receipt for you order to be released to you at pickup.

Orders placed after Sunday, March 20, 2022, will be processed after the program ends on March 31, 2022, and mailed (or made available for pickup) by April 4, 2022 or sooner – depending on gift card inventory available at the time.

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 – and make sure that you have a complete and accurate address! For example, university addresses must be complete in order to reach a student on campus correctly. We cannot make changes to shipping addresses once an order has been mailed. 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. Of course, the gift card(s) would thereby arrive at your own address and you can, in turn, send the gift cards to your intended recipient.

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, Dollar BankCommunity Human Services, Mero Restaurant Group, 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.