01/06/2014 12:47 EST | Updated 03/08/2014 05:59 EST

Ice storm highlights Toronto the Good - and the vulnerable

This winter's ice storm caused widespread power outages, with thousands going without power for days. It also revealed how dire the living conditions are for many people in Toronto, according to Gail Nyberg of the Daily Bread food bank.

She went so far as to call it criminal.

"We live in one of the most affluent countries in the world and we have people lining up for gift cards," said Nyberg on CBC's Metro Morning. "The fact that there aren't good jobs out there for people is a crime. We need to get policy changes that can help people."

The province matched donations from retailers to provide $50 gift cards to individuals and $100 for families who lost food in the storm. The program was far from perfect, many reported long lines for gift cards, something Nyberg says shows the level of need for those who live in poverty.

"Anyone on social assistance is in pretty dire straits right now," said Nyberg. She said those on social assistance get their December cheques early, meaning many had food in their fridges when the ice storm hit.

"They would have lost it all so they don't get another cheque until the end of the month."

But just as the ice storm pulled back the curtain on Toronto's most vulnerable, it also put the city's good nature on display.

"People care about their neighbours here, we saw that during the ice storm," she said.

Nyberg told host Matt Galloway that Sounds of the Season, CBC Toronto's annual holiday charity event which raised more than $581,000 and 7,000 pounds of food for local food banks, is an example of Toronto's commitment to giving.

"I'm amazed every time, but this one kind of blew me away," said Nyberg.