Throughout Australia and New Zealand, Sanitarium Health Food Company has donated, so far in 2020, more than AU$1 million (about US$700,000) worth of food to help individuals and communities suffering from the effects of bushfires and COVID-19.
In Australia alone, Sanitarium has donated more than 670,000 Weet-Bix, So Good, UP&GO, and peanut butter products since March 2020.
In addition to ongoing support for their long-term community care partners like Foodbank, ADRA, and KickStart for Kids, Sanitarium’s most significant new partnership is Eat Up, an Australian charity providing lunches for children at school.
“As part of this partnership, we’ve donated 18,000 packs of Weet-Bix, 18,000 cartons of So Good, and 18,000 units of UP&GO to support Eat Up’s Emergency Box initiative,” said Julie Praestiin, Sanitarium’s head of corporate communication. “This donation will reach families doing it tough across [the Australian states of] New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.”
In addition, Sanitarium is continuing to make food donations to food pantries and charities around the country, many of which are run by Adventist or other church groups. As part of this effort, 4,900 Sanitarium products have been included in ADRA food hampers.
The health food company has also been helping fuel frontline hospital and health-care workers on the Central Coast and in the Newcastle and Brisbane regions (chosen for their proximity to factory locations). In total, more than 15,000 frontline health-care workers have been supported and 170,000 vaccinations distributed by Sanitarium’s Vitality Works health-care services business.
Sanitarium in New Zealand is also extending community support, including a new partnership with Kiwi Harvest. In early April, the first of 90 pallets of Weet-Bix was delivered to its distribution center in Auckland, with a further delivery to reach its Christchurch distribution center in June. Kiwi Harvest distributes food to more than 280 charities and community-run food pantries throughout New Zealand.
With schools now returning in New Zealand, Sanitarium’s partnership with the New Zealand government and Fonterra in delivering the KickStart Breakfast program is set to continue.
Finally, Sanitarium has provided financial support for ADRA New Zealand’s “Love Thy Neighbour” program that is supporting families affected by the economic downturn of COVID-19.
According to Sanitarium CEO Kevin Jackson, the company began ensuring that supply chains were secure in early January so that by the time the COVID-19 pandemic was declared on March 12, definite plans were in place to secure operations and continue to provide healthy food.
“Panic buying in March and meeting community demands was a huge challenge,” Jackson said. “All lines ran at full capacity, breaking all records for production. Now we are focusing on rebuilding stock, which will take weeks.”
“I want to recognize the massive team effort that has been expanded in our business over the past few weeks. They’ve done an amazing job at rising and responding to the challenges that the COVID-19 challenge has caused,” Jackson added. “We have seen God's leading and guidance over the past few weeks, and for this, we give thanks and praise. To the thousands of church members who are our loyal supporters and advocates, thank you.”