Supermarket volunteer e-gift cards: How they work and where to buy them

If you’re amongst the 1.4 million people who were advised to self-isolate last month, one of the biggest challenges you’re probably facing right now is getting a regular supply of groceries.

Waitrose trolley
Alamy Stock Photo

Online delivery slots have never been more in demand, making it incredibly difficult to arrange shopping to be delivered to your door. But trusted friends, family and neighbours are rallying around communities to help – and now supermarkets are helping them do their bit by launching e-gift cards that make the process of shopping for others much more straightforward.

The idea is simple – you pay to preload a virtual card with a certain budget, and then the person organising your shopping can use this to pay for the goods. The vouchers typically feature a barcode or unique number which can be inputted at the checkout, with no need for any physical cash to exchange hands (especially important as social distancing measures mean ensuring you stay at least 2 metres apart).

Alamy Stock Photo

The initiatives follow the government’s recruitment drive for NHS Volunteer responders, which quickly accrued more than 750,000 people who are ready to help people in self-isolation with tasks like grocery shopping and obtaining medication from pharmacies.

So far three supermarkets have launched e-gift cards, and we’ll keep you posted if more follow suit. Here’s how to set yours up.

Where to buy supermarket volunteer e-gift cards

Aldi volunteer vouchers

Where to buy:

Limit: Available in £5 and £10 denominations

Aldi’s gift cards are a little different in that they have to be posted, but once ordered, they can be dispatched to any address in the UK – so you can send yours to someone to shop for essentials on your behalf.

Fritz Walleczek, Managing Director for Corporate Responsibility at Aldi said: ‘This is an incredibly difficult time for certain people in our communities and, as has always been our mission, we want to ensure everyone has safe, easy and affordable access to quality food. We all owe huge thanks to the volunteers, friends and family members that are making sure vulnerable people across the UK can get groceries while they self-isolate. I’m hopeful that our voucher scheme will make it a little bit easier for them to continue this vital work.’

Waitrose volunteer e-gift card

Where to buy:

Limit: £10-£500

Bérangère Michel, Executive Director of Customer Service at the John Lewis Partnership, commented: ‘We are pleased to be able to support our customers and the nation’s brilliant army of volunteers during these unprecedented times. Local communities have really rallied around those unable to get to the shops themselves and we want to make it as simple as possible for kind-hearted volunteers to get essential groceries to them.’

M&S volunteer e-gift card

Where to buy:

Limit: £10-£500

Marks & Spencer said: ‘During this challenging time, we know some customers don’t want to leave their homes or are self-isolating, with many wonderful volunteers helping to deliver shopping in their local communities. But we know it can be challenging for customers to organise payment for their shopping. That’s why, we’ve introduced our We’re All in this Together E-Gift Card – a simple way for customers to provide payment without exchanging cash or their card.’

Asda volunteer e-gift card

Where to buy:

Limit: £5-£150

CEO of Asda, Roger Burnley explained: ‘With the support of millions of amazing volunteers, we’ll be able to make sure these vulnerable customers have access to their shopping essentials. I would like to personally thank you for your continued efforts of keeping to the social distancing measures in our stores and I ask that you continue to keep this up while we help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) together.’

Sainsbury’s volunteer e-gift card

Where to buy:

Limit: £250

Mike Coupe, Chief Executive Officer at Sainsbury’s, said: ;During this challenging time, it’s more important than ever that we come together as a community. That includes supporting those who are kindly helping others to get the essential items they need. Our Volunteer Shopping Card will make it as easy as possible for our customers to do so.’