SPONSORED: Coles in Casuarina has donated an additional five pallets—the equivalent of eight tonnes—of food and essential grocery items to Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory’s West Daly region to provide support to struggling families in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The donated pantry items—including pasta, oats, long-life milk, water and toilet paper—will benefit more than 500 families living in the Wadeye, Peppimenarti and Nganmarriyanga communities which are over 300 kilometres from the nearest town, and have struggled to source food and other essential items due to harsh, ongoing border restrictions.

Coles’ donation comes after the supermarket teamed up with Aboriginal corporations and local charities to deliver and donate more than 50 tonnes of goods to Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory in April this year.

Coles Casuarina Store Manager Brodie Little said his team was incredibly passionate about supporting remote Indigenous communities who were severely impacted by COVID-19.

“We’re proud to provide some relief and support for our friends in remote communities across the Northern Territory during a time of critical need for regions struggling to access essential items,” he said.

“We will continue to build strong relationships with the communities of Wadeye, Peppimenarti and Nganmarriyanga, and will continue to work collaboratively with the West Daly Regional Council to ensure these communities have access to food and other essentials as pandemic restrictions continue.”

A food delivery to Kuy, NT. Photo supplied.

West Daly Regional Council Mayor John Wilson said he was grateful for Coles’ ongoing support in ensuring food security for locals in the remote region.

“West Daly is the most disadvantaged region in the Northern Territory and the second-most in Australia. Due to our people being more vulnerable than others during the COVID-19 pandemic, our region’s borders were closed meaning locals couldn’t travel to other areas to buy food for their own safety, and the safety of the community,” he said.

“West Daly Regional Council would like to thank and show our appreciation for Coles’ donation for our communities in Wadeye, Peppimenarti and Nganmarriyanga. The donated food is being distributed to people and outstations in our region and has been greatly welcomed.”

Coles is recognised as the largest corporate employer of Indigenous Australians, with a workforce of more than 4,800 Indigenous team members. The company’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement document has just been released and sets out plans to increase Coles’ Indigenous team member representation to five percent of the total workforce by 2023.