Brianna Casey, CEO, Foodbank

The Foodbank family cherishes its long-standing partnership with Woolworths Group, and whilst we have always delighted in the passionate, professional and invaluable support that has been displayed from right across the business, we could not be more grateful for the generosity we have experienced from the Woolworths team this year.

When Black Summer bushfires hit, Foodbank was called upon to lead the emergency food relief efforts across all affected states and territories, drawing on stock from every Foodbank warehouse in the country. Once the crisis phase had passed, replenishment of stock was the highest priority to ensure the 815,000 Australians relying on food relief each month could continue to access these essential supplies. In response, Woolworths began weekly donations specifically to help us replenish our stock and reach those most affected by the disasters.

In March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic reach our shores, panic buying not only affected the Australian food and grocery industry, but so too, Foodbank. Supply chain interruption was experienced across a number of key categories, placing inordinate pressure on our already stretched network. At the height of lockdowns, the increase in demand for food relief skyrocketed by 78%, coinciding with a 27% reduction in supply through food rescue. Woolworths stepped up once again to help us find strategic, impactful solutions. Woolworths also donated $300,000 for us to proactively purchase essential items, bolstering our supplies by the equivalent of 600,000 meals to help the newly unemployed, international students and others so significantly affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic.

As COVIDSafe restrictions took hold, we had to revamp our distribution model, shifting to a focus on food hampers. Woolworths supported this challenging process by donating thousands of their innovative Basics Box to help us reach more people both efficiently and safely.

In addition, Woolworths continued to champion their Primary Connect freight support, donating $500,000 worth of transport to move emergency food assistance around the country to where it was needed most.

This year has been a struggle for so many people - especially our country’s most vulnerable - but thanks to Woolworths, hundreds of thousands of families were able to access the food they needed.