The Coles Community Food Program has donated more than 8,600 tonnes of food through partnerships with SecondBite and Foodbank.
The amount of donation the supermarket giant has achieved equates to more than 17.2 million meals. It’s the biggest annual donation since the program started more than a decade ago.
Coles managing director John Durkan said the partnerships with SecondBite and Foodbank had never been more important, with Foodbank’s annual Hunger Report this week revealing that 15 per cent of Australians or 3.6 million people have experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months.
“There are a lot of Australians doing it tough at the moment, and many of them need help for the most basic of needs – being able to feed their families,” he said. “We are very proud to support the excellent work that SecondBite and Foodbank do every day in putting food on the plates of Australians who would otherwise have to go without.”
There are more than 670 Coles supermarkets nationwide in Australia, which donate surplus but still fresh food to SecondBite, with a total of 23 million kilograms donated since the partnership began in 2011.
“Thanks to the generosity of our customers, we’ve also been able to raise more than $1.4 million via instore fundraising campaigns at Coles Supermarkets, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice to support SecondBite’s fantastic work in distributing more than over 22 million meals each year to Aussies who are doing it tough,” Durkan said.
Customers of Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, First Choice and Liquor Market will be able to support SecondBite from November 15 to December 12, by purchasing a $2 donation card in stores. The $2 donation is enough to support the distribution of 10 nutritious meals.
SecondBite chief executive Jim Mullan said the organisation’s national partnership with Coles had been instrumental in delivering more food to Australians in need and it has demonstrated Coles’ commitment to assisting the most vulnerable in our community. The organisation redistributes food from Coles to over 1,200 agency partners free of charge.
“In our first full year of partnership, we rescued and redistributed the equivalent of 1.9 million meals, however, thanks to Coles’ support and leadership in food rescue across the retail sector, in the last financial year, the equivalent of 14.4 million meals were provided for people in need,” Mullan said.
“The Coles Community Food Program with SecondBite ensures that surplus, edible food ends up on the plates of those in need, instead of contributing to landfill. We are proud to work with an organisation that is a clear leader with respect to both its social and environmental responsibilities.”
Foodbank chief executive Brianna Casey thanked Coles for the 1.43 million kilograms of food donated from Coles distribution centres over the past financial year, up from 1.21 million kilograms a year earlier – an 18 per cent increase.
“With the support of Coles, Foodbank is able to provide more than 172,000 meals a day through 2,600 charities nationally. Their contribution is helping us improve the lives of millions of vulnerable Australians across the country,” said Casey.
Coles and SecondBite are holding a media conference to discuss this important milestone at SecondBite’s Melbourne food distribution centre today.