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. They 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.
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