Coles announced today that it will donate extra food and groceries to the retail value of $1 million a week to help vulnerable Australians.
It comes as panic buying has gripped the nation, with police officers guarding toilet paper and fights breaking out as fears swell.
Just yesterday, news.com.au reported a case where an elderly woman was brought to tears as she stared at the empty shelves of the supermarket.
Coles followed in their footsteps, by beginning a similar program on March 18.
Now Coles will also be directing its $1 million food donations towards food relief organisations, Foodbank and SecondBite, who can reach 3800 community food programs across Australia.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the decision to increase Coles’ food donations was in response to increasing demand for food relief from vulnerable Australians.
“For many years, we have donated surplus edible food from our supermarkets and distribution centres but sadly we are hearing that an increasing number of people in our community are facing particularly tough times as a flow-on effect of the coronavirus,” he said.
“We hope that by donating an additional $1 million in food each week to SecondBite and Foodbank, we can help get food and essentials to people who are especially vulnerable at this unprecedented time.”
“It goes to the heart of our strategy which is to feed all Australians and help them lead healthier, happier lives.”
SecondBite CEO Jim Mullan welcomed the additional food donations.
“A key issue for us at the moment is keeping up with the growing demand. Coles currently donates surplus food from around 780 supermarkets and these additional donations from its distribution centres will help us to reach an increasing number of people in need,” he said.
Foodbank CEO Brianna Casey said the combination of drought, bushfires and coronavirus had placed unprecedented pressure on the charity’s food supplies. “We are already assisting 815,000 people a month, but the need for food relief is skyrocketing at a time when donations of essential food and groceries are reducing. The additional donations from Coles will help ensure Foodbank can bolster its supplies to ensure vulnerable Australians can continue to be assisted,” she said.