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Supermarkets pledge donations to flood-hit areas in NSW and QLD

Coles and Woolworths are raising funds for the communities affected by the devastating floods in NSW and Queensland.

Woolworths has donated $100,000 to its Support Through Australian Natural Disasters (Stand) partner, The Salvation Army, while Coles pledged up to $1 million for charity group, GIVIT, which will be donating emergency and household items to locals. 

Until Sunday (March 28), Woolies shoppers spending more than $30 in store (or $15 in Metro stores) can round up their purchase to the nearest dollar at self-serve checkouts so the proceeds can be donated directly to The Salvation Army.

“Our thoughts are with all our customers, teams and communities that have been impacted by widespread flooding across NSW,” said Brad Banducci, Woolworths Group CEO.

“In times of crisis it is so important that we act quickly and work better together to support those in our community who are most in need. Through the Woolworths Stand program, we partner with The Salvation Army, Foodbank, Lifeline and Rural Aid to ensure they can perform the vital role of providing practical on ground assistance and emotional support to communities during times of disaster.”

Salvation Army secretary for communications Neil Venables said Woolworths’ support allows the organisation to move quickly to support first responders and communities in times of disaster. 

“The leading donation of $100,000 is greatly appreciated, as is the checkout round up in its NSW supermarkets. We are honoured to stand with Woolies in these trying times for so many fellow Australians,” said Venables.

Coles customers, meanwhile, can drop off their donations or any amount of their choice until Easter at any Coles supermarket, Coles Express store, Liquorland, First Choice Liquor Market or Vintage Cellars store.

“Our local store teams have already donated food and water to support the SES and emergency services working on the front-line but the need is enormous and we are committed to doing more by donating $100,000 to GIVIT and matching customer donations dollar for dollar up to $900,000,” Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said. 

While GIVIT will be using the funds collected to provide groceries, toiletries, nappies, hygiene products, clothes, bedding, generators and work equipment. The cash donation from Coles will cover costs supporting impacted areas.

“Our aim is to make sure people devastated by disaster get exactly what they need to recover, where and when they need it,” GIVIT founder Juliette Wright OAM said. “Any donations, no matter how big or small, from Coles customers will be welcomed and will make a difference to those whose lives have been irreparably changed by this natural disaster.”

Meanwhile, Aldi has reopened its Kempsey and Port Macquarie stores – which were cut off by the floodwaters.

An Aldi Australia spokesperson told Inside FMCG that the company is working closely with the NSW Government, suppliers and logistics teams in responding to the flood crisis.

“As of this morning, we have reopened our Kempsey and Port Macquarie stores to service these local communities. Transport challenges in the mid-north coast of NSW may mean some stores in these areas might be low in stock. We are working with all parties ensure this is rectified as quickly as possible. We can confirm that fresh food from stores that temporarily closed was distributed within the community,” the Aldi spokesperson said.

Woolworths and Coles posted updates on their Twitter accounts.

Australian bank Westpac has rolled out a Flood Support Fund of $10 million that will provide grants to customers and employees who had major damage to their homes or businesses due to the flooding. Business customers can avail grants of $5000 to help them reopen and recover to repair damages and purchase equipment and stock loss during the floods. Employees and customers can receive grants of $3000 to buy essential items and services.

“We are providing up to $10 million in funding to enable our customers and employees to access grants to assist them with purchasing items and services that will help them get through this challenging time,” said Chris de Bruin, Westpac chief executive consumer and business banking. “This is just the beginning of the long recovery process for many Australians. These grants give our impacted customers and employees one less thing to worry about as they start to get back on their feet.”

Aussies were evacuated from their homes in NSW as heavy rains and major flooding continued since Thursday, intensifying over the weekend. Roads, trees and houses are submerged in floodwaters in some areas.

The government has designated 38 places across the state as natural disaster areas and 19 evacuation orders have already been issued.

In Queensland, a severe weather warning was issued as heavy rains are likely to bring flash flooding. More rainfall for the next few days is expected to bring more flooding.

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