Coles to donate Friday’s profits to bushfire appeal, food businesses raise millions

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 10th February 2009

Coles will donate this Friday’s (13 Feb) profits from its 750 stores nationally to the Government’s Bushfire Appeal Fund in partnership with the Red Cross, as Australian companies continue to offer support to those affected by the tragedy.

Coles Managing Director, Ian McLeod, said the devastating bushfire had touched a number of Coles team members, some of whom have lost loved ones in the fire, and a number who have lost their homes. “Like everyone in the community, we’ve been shocked by the devastation these fires have wrought, and we extend our deepest sympathies to those who’ve suffered loss in this terrible event,” Mr McLeod said.

Mr McLeod added that the size of this Friday’s donation would depend on customer support, but could be several million dollars. “Our customers often have set days for their supermarket shopping, but we’re asking people to change their habits this week and to do their shopping on Friday, to support this special fundraising event. We hope Australians will help us make this Friday’s donation as substantial as possible,” Mr McLeod said. “There’ll be extra team members working in stores to help manage what we hope will be a very busy day. We’ve also ordered extra stock deliveries into stores.”

Coles advised that they had been helping ground level relief agencies over the weekend, providing essentials such as food, water and toiletries.

A host of food companies have offered their support, with discount supermarket chain Aldi pledging $250,000, supermarket giant Woolworths donating $1 million, alcoholic beverage group Foster’s – which has seen two of their wineries destroyed by fire – providing $750,000, and conglomerate Wesfarmers ($500,000), among those to donate.

Customers will also be able to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund at all Coles and Woolworths stores (except Woolworths’ Queensland stores where money is being raised to assist those affected by floods in northern Queensland).

The Red Cross has reported that the relief fund has already surpassed the $15 million mark.

To find out how your food business can help please contact Mike Cannon from VicRelief Foodbank via email: mikec@vrfb.com.au or telephone: (03) 9362 8300; 0417 343 574.

Financial donations by companies and individuals can be made to the Victorian Bushfire Fund by calling 1800 811 700 or visiting www.redcross.org.au/vic/services_emergencyservices_victorian-bushfires-appeal-2009.htm.