Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA.
Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA.

Helping hand-out for Gympie RSPCA during lockdowns

COLES has thrown a lifeline to rescued and injured animals by donating surplus unsold fruit and vegetables to RSPCA’s Gympie Animal Care Centre after COVID-19 forced the facility to temporarily shut its doors.

Coles Gympie has just started donating around 20kg of unsold produce each week to help feed more than 50 animals at the shelter, including dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and guinea pigs.


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Gympie Animal Care Centre manager Vanessa Richardson said the extra food donations would help keep the animals fed while easing some of the financial pressures felt during this time.

“Our animals have not been immune to the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said.

“We had to close our doors to the public early on and our volunteering activities have been severely restricted by social distancing.

“This has had a major effect on how we raise funds and provide ongoing care to our animals,” Ms Richardson said.

Coles regional manager Tony Douelhi said Coles was delighted to support the animals affected by COVID-19 pandemic after RSPCA Queensland reached out to Coles for support.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all creatures great and small and we were more than happy to help out when the RSPCA reached out to us,” he said.

Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA
Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA

“Rather than sending this inedible and unsold produce to landfill, we’ve donated them to our local furry friends.

“Our stores are donating healthy and nutritious food for animals like sweet potatoes, strawberries, watermelon and leafy greens.”

“Our Gympie team members have also started a donation box at the front of store for customers to drop off suitable pet food and accessories to help impounded animals at RSPCA Gympie.”

The donations are in addition to Coles’ existing program with national food rescue organisation, SecondBite, with surplus food being collected from Coles supermarkets and distributed to local charities, including St Vincent de Paul (Gympie Conference) and Victory Care Services Gympie.

Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA
Anthea Bennett of the Gympie RSPCA

Fifteen Coles supermarkets across Queensland are helping RSPCA animal care centres in not only Gympie but also Wacol, Toowoomba, Dakabin, Noosa, Mackay and Cairns to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic with ongoing food donations.