REDLANDS shoppers customers have raised more than $7000 as part of Coles Group's record-breaking fundraising appeal to help vulnerable Australians and families affected by childhood cancer.
Redlanders are being praised for their fundraising efforts, digging deep at Cleveland and Victoria Point to donate to the cause despite the financial challenges many Queenslanders are facing due to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Across Australia, $3.2 million was raised in four weeks for food rescue organisation SecondBite and children's cancer charity Redkite, more than 2.6 times the funds raised in the 2019 Christmas campaign.
Research released by SecondBite in November showed more than three-quarters of its food charities expected Christmas would be more difficult for the people they support in the community, with 72 per cent of agencies also reporting an increase in demand for food relief since COVID-19 began.
SecondBite and Redkite both faced increased demand for their services during the holiday season due to the impacts of COVID-19.
More than half the funds raised were from Coles supermarket customers who purchased a $2 donation card at the checkout, with further donations from Coles Express customers.
Redkite revealed in December 2020 nearly a quarter of families they surveyed who have a child with cancer feared they couldn't afford basics like food, with nearly a third of respondents also saying they didn't think they could continue to provide for their families.
Coles state general manager Jerry Farrell 2020 was a challenging year for everyone.
"It was great to see such incredible generosity from Queenslanders to provide support for families and individuals doing it tough. Redlands locals in particular should be extremely proud of their efforts," Mr Farrell said.
SecondBite chief executive Jim Mullan said that the $1.57 million raised for SecondBite by Coles would help provide the equivalent of 7.8 million meals to people in need.
"2020 was an incredibly difficult year for families across the country and SecondBite could not have responded in the way we have without the support of the entire Coles team. 2021 will come with a range of legacy challenges from COVID-19 and the bushfires, and their collective impact on both the economy and communities across the country," he said.
"The funds raised by the Coles team will allow us to deliver greater positive impact through the increased distribution of fresh and nutritious food to individuals, families and communities in need throughout Australia."
Redkite chief executive Monique Keighery said the funds of almost $1.5 million raised for Redkite, in addition to $200,000 in gift cards donated by Coles Group, will go a long way to easing the pressure on families impacted by childhood cancer.
"Across Australia, demand for our counselling and support services went up by a massive 30 per cent as families grappled with the daunting task of keeping their immunocompromised child safe during the pandemic, along with the daily struggle of paying for groceries, household bills and hospital trips," she said.
"For families who have a child with cancer, 2020 was a devastating year but thanks to the incredibly generous support of Coles customers, Redkite will be able to stay on the frontlines to deliver the practical, emotional and financial support these families so desperately need."