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Salem resident gives away $1,100 worth of gift cards to local businesses

Matt Obey is giving away 21 gift cards to Salem businesses, including Wicked Good Books (pictured), on his Instagram accountMatt Obey/Purely Salem

Salem resident Matt Obey bought 21 gift cards from local businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak last Sunday. Since then, he’s been parceling out the $50 cards to followers of his Instagram account, @purelysalem.

“I saw shops encouraging people to buy gift cards, and I wanted to support them,” said Obey via phone. “I also wanted to bring attention to the fact that these places are still open — only open for takeout, of course, but still."

“Also I can’t possibly use all of these.”

Small businesses in Massachusetts have been urging patrons to stock up on gift cards as shops and restaurants are forced to close or only offer delivery to slow the spread of COVID-19.


Every day, in an Instagram post, Obey announces which cards are up for grabs. He asks participants to share what they order or buy at the business to qualify for the draw, and uses an app to pick a winner randomly.

The full-time accountant puts up at least two gift cards for the giveaway each day and so far has distributed 10 gift cards from local spots, including Bella Verona, Wicked Good Books, and Longboards Restaurant and Bar.

A handful of the gift cards to Salem businesses Obey purchasedMatt Obey

When Obey isn’t using his account for giveaways, he posts pictures of historic houses in Salem.

Have you seen or heard about an act of kindness? E-mail us at arts@globe.com.

Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com.Follow her on Twitter @ditikohli_.