SPONSORED: Coles has teamed up with Aboriginal corporations and local charities to deliver and donate more than 80 pallets—the equivalent of 50 tonnes—of food and grocery essentials to remote Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory.

Coles and organisations such as the Northern Land Council, St Vincent’s De Paul, Larrakia Nation in Darwin and the Central Land Council, Tangentyere Council and Purple House in Alice Springs will deliver truckloads of care packages to more than 2,200 community members impacted by the COVID-19 crisis across the Territory.

Coles NT team members have prepared the care packages which will include fresh and tinned produce, pasta, rice, biscuits and breakfast cereals. Ten thousand litres of spring water plus toilet paper, infant nappies and sanitary items will also be delivered.

The deliveries will provide relief to more than 2,200 residents across Darwin, Alice Springs and to many remote communities such as Santa Teresa, Beswick and Elliott, which is 735 kilometres away from a Coles store.

Coles Regional Manager Daniel Clegg said his team was passionate about supporting remote Indigenous communities who were severely impacted by COVID-19.

“The current situation in remote parts of the Northern Territory is critical and we wanted to do everything we could to provide some relief and support to those lacking access to essential supplies. Unfortunately, we know that many in the communities have been unable to leave their homes to access essential food and groceries at these times,” Clegg said.

“By working with organisations such as the Central and Northern Land Councils, Larrakia Nation, and the National Indigenous Australian Agency, we will be able to deliver the food donations to people who need it most, across many parts of the Territory, particularly in remote Indigenous areas.”

Clegg said Toll Logistics, Blackwoods and Colemans Printing at Alice Springs were also instrumental in supporting the initiative.

Northern Land Council staff members Jake Long and Ashleigh Yanner with care packages donated by Coles. Photo supplied by Coles.

Northern Land Council CEO Marion Scrymgour said the organisation was proud to work with Coles to bring these essential items to communities at Beswick (Wugularr) and Elliott.

“Making sure residents of Aboriginal communities stay on Country and don’t have to leave biosecurity areas to shop in regional centres has been a priority for the NLC,” Scrymgour said.

“This action by Coles is exactly the right kind of corporate support for our remote communities and the NLC applauds Coles and its staff for this initiative.”

Larrakia Nation CEO Robert Cooper said the donation would benefit many of their families and clients.

“Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation has been heavily involved in keeping our people and our clients safe, healthy and secure since the outbreak commenced,” Cooper said.

“We thank Coles for stepping up and assisting with this supply of essential items when so many of our families are under stress and otherwise unable to access many of these items. This will bring smiles to a lot of faces.”

Purple House CEO Sarah Brown welcomed the support for their patients and families.

“We are all so grateful to Coles for this generous support. With road closures food security has become a significant issue for people out bush,” Brown said.

“This donation of healthy food and cleaning products will take pressure off families, service providers and community stores and allow remote residents to stay home, stay safe and hopefully stay COVID free.”

Organisations receiving care packages from Coles will include:

  • Central Land Council
  • Tangentyere Council
  • Ingkerreke Outstations Resource Services
  • Atyenhenge-Atherre Aboriginal Corporation
  • Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation
  • Purple House
  • Wugularr
  • Northern Land Council
  • Larrakia Nation
  • Vinnies Darwin.
Coles NT Regional Manager Daniel Clegg, Vinnies Darwin Ozanam House Centre Manager Dona Wright and Coles Casuarina store manager Brodie Little. Photo supplied by Coles.

During COVID-19, Coles is also donating extra food and groceries to the retail value of $1 million each week to national food relief organisations, Foodbank and SecondBite, so they can support up to 3,800 community-based charities across Australia.

An integral part of Coles’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan is its focus on building mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders.

Coles is also recognised as the largest corporate sector employer of Indigenous Australians and has recruited 430 Indigenous team members in the last three weeks.

The new hires take Coles’ total Indigenous workforce to more than 4,800 and mark a significant step towards the company’s target of increasing Indigenous team member representation to 5 percent of the total workforce by 2023.

Further information can be found in Coles’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement document.