Woolworths has given its hunger relief partners an immediate financial boost which will deliver the equivalent of more than 13 million additional meals to Australians in need.
The meals are in addition to the equivalent of 28 million meals created in Australia through the Group’s food diversion initiatives over the past year, which see excess edible food from Woolworths supermarkets and distribution centres collected by food relief partners.
The latest injection of funding by Woolworths will enable more food to reach vulnerable Australians across the country through its partners Foodbank, OzHarvest and FareShare.
The additional financial support is 100% funded by Woolworths Group as a corporate donation of $9 million across Australia and New Zealand. It represents a year’s worth of the retailer’s support in a single boost to help charities immediately respond to unprecedented food insecurity.
Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci says Woolworths exists to feed Australians, and it doesn’t believe that should stop once you leave the store.
“Our supermarkets donate excess food to local charities each week, however with more people experiencing food insecurity for the first time, it’s clear that more is needed to provide immediate relief,” he says.
“Throughout the year, our customers generously donate to our hunger relief partners, and at a time when it may be harder to find that extra change, we want to do more to help our partners meet the growing demand for these important services.
“For us, this additional donation is an opportunity to ‘feed it forward’ and support the households most in need of a helping hand right now.”
Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey says on any given day, more than half a million households in our own communities struggle to put a meal on the table.
“Demand for food relief has never been higher, and we’re preparing as best we can for more and more people to need our help – or to need it more often,” she says.
“This much-needed injection of funds from Woolworths Group is above and beyond the food, funding and transport support it provides us every day – and it will help us redouble our efforts to get more nutritious, culturally-appropriate food to households right across Australia.”
Funding will also be allocated to FareShare’s Meals for the Mob program to support regional and remote Indigenous communities with almost 200,000 extra meals, as well as the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation’s school breakfast program.
A renewed commitment
The donation comes as Woolworths launches a new initiative, Reducing Food Waste and Hunger, which will work from farm to fridge to help more food go to good use, so less ends up in landfill.
Together with its customers, suppliers and hunger relief partners, the supermarket wants to better redistribute excess food in the supply chain to Australians experiencing hunger, while also helping customers better use up what they already have in their fridge – and spend less.
The renewed commitment will be outlined in the Group’s latest sustainability report released later this month.
“There’s enough food to go around – but unfortunately too much of it is going to waste. We’re set to embark on a renewed mission to redistribute excess food and to help our customers use up what they already have before they buy more,” says Mr Banducci.
“By getting more serious about food waste, together we can reduce hunger and create a better tomorrow for people and the planet – and that’s a win-win.”