BCYF (Barwon Child, Youth & Family) teamed up with 12 Coles supermarkets in Geelong and Colac, to provide essential supplies for BCYF clients in need throughout July and August.
Coles stores across the region collected customer donations of food and toiletries which have been made available to BCYF’s Youth Services, Family & Community Services, and culturally and linguistically diverse clients.
Local Rotary clubs and schools also supported the initiative, with dozens of volunteers collecting, sorting and packing donations.
With food insecurity a significant issue in the Geelong region, BCYF CEO, Mr Sandy Morrison, thanked Coles and the wider community, saying the donations will make a significant difference to those currently experiencing vulnerability.
“Food insecurity affects people of all ages and backgrounds, and it is becoming a reality for an increasing number of people in our community,” Mr Morrison said.
“Demand for essential supplies remains high across the wider Geelong region.”
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, charities across Australia have reported that the demand for food relief has increased on average by 47% (Foodbank Hunger Report 2020).
Locally, it is estimated that around 53,000 Geelong residents require food assistance in a 12-month period, equivalent to approximately 2.48 million meals per year (City of Greater Geelong).
Donations over the partnership with Coles have enabled BCYF and Rotary volunteers to compile around 1000 food packages, each package providing supplies for five meals.
“The donated supplies are provided to some of our most vulnerable and disadvantaged community members, some of whom may not have access to any other food at that particular point in time,” Mr Morrison said.
“Every donation is greatly appreciated. This initiative has been a wonderful example of our communities’ spirit and generosity when it comes to supporting those in need.”
Coles Regional Manager Geelong, also commended the Geelong and Colac communities for their support of the initiative.
“Coles has a long history of supporting the communities in which we operate,” Janelle Donovan said.
“Giving back is important to us and, based on the outstanding response to this initiative, it is also important to our customers.
“We were thrilled to be able to support BCYF clients in this way, and we see this partnership as a wonderful alignment of both Coles’ and BCYF’s values.”
Geelong donations have been collected, sorted and packed by volunteers from local Rotary clubs, while in Colac, students from Trinity College have been doing the same.
“It’s been heart-warming to see the donations flooding in,” Rotarian Jenny Acopian said.
“This initiative is very much in line with Rotary’s vision of a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, and our volunteers were thrilled to be involved in bringing hope and practical help to vulnerable members of our community.”
If you wish to support BCYF a donation can be made online at bcyf.org.au
Pictured above: Coles Leopold staff with donated items, photo courtesy of the Geelong Advertiser.