Discount grocer Aldi has extended paid leave for current volunteer firefighters from nine days to four weeks to support those on the frontline of the bushfire emergency.
The retailer said on Thursday that all stores are now back open and that they are now focused on donating food and providing logistics support to deliver food.
“We are pleased to report that from today, all our stores are back open for business. We will now move to phase two of our relief activity and this involves working directly with impacted stores to support their local communities, supporting impacted business partners and inviting our customers to make a donation to Foodbank at the register,” Aldi said in a statement.
The discount grocer has been supporting its employees through the bushfire crisis by providing groceries, accommodation and counselling as well as continued wages through store closures.
Aldi’s Minchinbury, Dandenong, Derrimut and Regency Park DC’s have donated 50 pallets of water, food and hygiene products to food rescue charity Foodbank.
“In addition to the A$70,000 donation of stock, we are lending logistics support to ensure Foodbank have what they need to get product shipped around the country. We have also provided a cash donation of $200,000 to Foodbank to help them resource their food relief program,” said Aldi.
It is also helping Foodbank raise funds through Aldi checkout collections.
Aldi’s Batemans Bay store was forced to shut on New Year’s Eve and until now due to the bushfire.
“Usually this is our busiest time and the town is bustling with tourism but we’ve been devastated by the fire and the community is really feeling it,” Aldi Batemans Bay store manager Michael McCarron said.
Expired food was donated to animal charities including a pig farmer and horse stables. A group of volunteers from Aldi Australia’s head office also went to Batemans Bay to help replenish stocks.
“It’s really great to have the volunteers here to get the store back to normal. For a lot of the staff here, so much of their lives have changed so it will be nice for them to come back to a clean, freshly restocked store to provide some normalcy for when they choose to come back to work,” said Aldi area manager Lauren Crouch.
“People miss Aldi, we have one of the largest catchments in NSW with customers coming to our store from Bega. I know they can’t wait for the store to reopen so we are very grateful for the volunteers who helped us carry out a full store remerch today,” McCarron said.