Woolworths has announced a commitment of over R34 million to support a variety of initiatives to meet the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis in South Africa. While its fashion, beauty and homeware businesses are all under lockdown, Woolworths continues to deliver its essential food provision service across the country, putting a significant number of its employees at the frontline of the nation’s Covid-19 response.
“We are incredibly grateful to our Woolies’ heroes who are playing their part to provide food and essential services to the nation,” says Sam Ngumeni, Woolworths Holdings Group Chief Operations Officer. “I am very clear that we cannot face the Covid-19 crisis alone and need each other, now more than ever. Care starts at home and we are focusing on both the physical safety of our frontline workers, and their emotional wellbeing. Through focused crisis care for our employees at this time, we know that we have the opportunity to touch their families and the communities where they live. Woolworths is also working very closely with our well-established partner network to help them maintain and boost their community programmes in response to urgent Covid-19 challenges. No one can go it alone, but together we will make a difference.”
Woolworths employees who are braving the lockdown to provide essential services during this period are receiving an Extraordinary Difference Award, an incentive that acknowledges their contributions to the country. Woolworths senior executive teams recently announced that they have decided to forego up to 30% of their salaries over the next three months. The savings from this will be used to provide additional financial support, over and above the current interventions, to Woolworths people who will be impacted during the crisis. Woolworths has also turned to its long-standing social investment partners to deliver emergency relief and help build resilience in vulnerable communities.
Woolworths Corporate Affairs Director, Zinzi Mgolodela says, “We are fortunate to be able to leverage our strong, existing partnerships to get help to where it is needed as the outbreak evolves. One of our key focuses at this time is obviously on our frontline employees, but also on supporting healthcare workers and volunteers, while boosting food security in vulnerable communities and improving access to education for the many, many children who cannot access digital education platforms.”
The more than R34 million allocated to the Woolworths Covid-19 response includes:
Employee health and safety
Protection for healthcare workers and community volunteers
Food security for our communities
Access to education for the most vulnerable children
“In the end, how we emerge from the Covid-19 crisis as a country, is not so dependent on what challenges unfold, but on the quality and expansiveness of our care for one another, and on how well we come together to meet those challenges. We gratefully acknowledge the caring collaboration of Woolies suppliers; our leadership team and Board, our courageous and disciplined employees, who are working responsibly at the frontlines, our generous customers and our hard-working partners such as Food Forward SA, Gift of the Givers and more. We are all in this together,” Mgolodela concludes.
Caption: Jeffreys Bay Fountain’s Mall Woolies employees wearing protective visors
Caption: Rirhandzu Marivate, Project Manager for the Living Soils Community Learning Farm harvesting carrots for the food packs that have been donated to 130 vulnerable families in the Winelands since the start of the lockdown.
Caption: Gift of the Givers loading up 16.5 tonnes of porridge to distribute for emergency food relief
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