When COVID-19 cases began to climb in Australia, stockpiling groceries quickly became a national obsession. In a rarity for a country which produces more food than it consumes, shelves were stripped bare, some of the most vulnerable members of the community were missing out.
From mid-March, Coles began donating extra food and groceries to Foodbank and SecondBite to the retail value of $1 million a week to help Australians who were facing hardship as a result of the Coronavirus. The food relief organisations in turn distributed the food to up to 3,800 community food programs across Australia.
Coles also introduced community hour, first for elderly and vulnerable shoppers, and then healthcare and emergency services workers. It launched Coles Online Priority Service to support the most vulnerable customers, particularly the elderly and those who could not easily shop in stores.
And the supermarket also worked with Indigenous businesses and local charities to deliver and donate more than 80 pallets – the equivalent of 50 tonnes – of food and grocery essentials to remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.
Coles recruited more than 12,000 people in just a few weeks to meet customer demand in March, providing much-needed employment opportunities at a time when many Australians were urgently seeking work.
Redkite would like to acknowledge and provide a testimonial for Coles Online Priority Service team for going above and beyond for families facing their child’s cancer.
When COVID-19 hit, it put Australia’s most vulnerable into immediate isolation. Families with children who have cancer in hospitals, receiving treatment or recovering at home could no longer be out in public with fear of passing on the virus to their immunocompromised child.
Everyday tasks that once were a convenience, could now be the thing that jeopardises the health and safety of your child. On top of that our families could not access basics like hand sanitisers, antibacterial wipes and other basic products that are an absolute must when you have a child with cancer.
It was Coles Online Priority Service that immediately came to the rescue. Families facing childhood cancer received an instant access for to online priority shopping and contactless delivery so they could get the supplies they needed and kept their immunocompromised child safe. Coles Online Priority Service provided critical and essential support to nearly 2000 families around the country and helped them stay strong in the face of COVID-19.
I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary support of SecondBite from Coles as they back our mission of ending waste and hunger across Australia, not only this past year but the previous ten.
2020 presented many challenges for families across the country including drought, bushfire, and the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, the increase in demand for food relief has risen exponentially.
Coles immediately came to the support of SecondBite providing essential food donations from its distribution centres, building on the surplus produce we collect from around 800 supermarkets nationwide. This support enabled us to keep up with the increasing number of people in need.
Coles ability to pivot in highly unprecedented circumstances and deliver highly nutritious, appropriate food products in bulk is a credit to their team and their priority of helping Aussies who need it most.
We are extraordinarily grateful for the team at Coles, as are hundreds of thousands of people that the Coles team will never see but have impacted their lives on a daily basis - the difference they have made can never be underestimated.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Coles and other supermarkets have played an important role in supporting people and communities in need. The Coles community shopping hour and priority delivery service were examples of assisting elderly and vulnerable people to access supplies when demand was high. Coles also provided support to public housing residents in lockdown, including substantial donations of food relief.
I’d like to acknowledge the responsiveness, dedication and care of the Coles staff involved in that operation, who went above and beyond to supply basic food and groceries to residents. All the supermarkets have contributed to communities in their own ways. The cooperation between supermarkets and government during this challenging time has been exceptional and will be a lasting legacy of COVID-19.
Since the COVID pandemic began, Coles has proudly embraced our role as an essential service to the community, guided by our purpose to sustainably feed all Australians and help them lead healthier and happier lives. Throughout every challenge, our values of working with passion, pace and responsibility to the community were at the heart of our decision making. I am grateful for the collaborative approach adopted by industry stakeholders, government and our suppliers which ensured we kept all Australians fed and safe, and am incredibly proud of our 118,000 team members for their tireless work to safely serve our community.
Coles saw Covid crisis as ‘a time to step up’
This article first appeared in The Australian newspaper on Monday 29 March 2021.
Australia produces more food than it consumes but when the pandemic hit communities last year, many Australians became focused on stockpiling groceries to see them through the lockdowns.
Our big supermarkets came under pressure to supply essentials and ensure shoppers — especially older or vulnerable shoppers — had safe access to stores.
For Coles, the coronavirus was a time to step up. CEO Steve Cain said: “Since the COVID pandemic began, Coles has proudly embraced our role as an essential service to the community, guided by our purpose to sustainably feed all Australians and help them lead healthier and happier lives. Throughout every challenge, our values of working with passion, pace and responsibility to the community were at the heart of our decision-making.”
The company’s work has won it a place on the shortlist for the Business Council of Australia’s awards, The Biggies, which recognise people and companies that made a significant contribution to civic life last year. Coles is one of seven finalists in the Big Impact category. There are four individual finalists in the Big Heart category.
From mid-March last year, Coles began donating extra food and groceries to a retail value of $1m a week to food banks to help Australians facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus. Food relief organisations in turn distributed the food to up to 3800 community food programs across Australia.
of business in the community