Like many retailers, the 7-Eleven Australia team is dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 including temporary store closures for deep cleaning or team members or delivery drivers having to isolate.

These impacts mean there was a risk of fresh food going to waste but thanks to the help of The Salvation Army Australia, thousands of food items that couldn’t be delivered to stores, have instead been redirected to help people doing it tough.

According to 7-Eleven CEO and Managing Director, Angus McKay, being able to support local communities while keeping people safe is incredibly important to the 7-Eleven team.

“Our approach is that as soon as there is a risk, we immediately close and deep clean a store, and then support impacted team members to isolate until there’s a negative test result, or as advised by the relevant state health department,” says McKay.

This has been particularly evident in recent weeks when team members at a 7-Eleven store in Orange tested positive for COVID-19.

The store, which normally trades 24/7, was promptly closed for deep cleaning, and has since reopened, being operated by members of the 7-Eleven corporate store team with reduced hours from 6am to 6pm every day.

7-Eleven said: “To support our franchisee in Orange, and to ensure that the Orange community can access food, fuel and other essentials, in addition to deep cleans, and appropriate COVIDSafe practices, members of the 7-Eleven Australia corporate store team have worked to reopen 7-Eleven Orange.

“While it’s not possible to support 24/7 trade as normal, the store will be open from 6am to 6pm every day manned by members of our corporate team until the franchisee and their team are safely able to return to work.”

Because 7-Eleven delivers fresh food into every store in its network every day, if a particular store is closed for deep cleaning during the delivery window, it means that stock that is already packed for that store needs to go somewhere.

“Thanks to the help of our friends at The Salvation Army, our team has been able to redirect more than 4,000 meals and about three truckloads of milk, snacks, sushi, fruit and treats in the last month,” said McKay.

“7-Eleven has been working with The Salvation Army since 2014, starting with a coffee machine donation at the Melbourne Project 614 Magpies’ Nest Café. In July, the free coffee service in the café poured its two millionth cup of coffee.

“Through working with the team at the Salvos, we’ve learnt that it isn’t just the meal, the cup of coffee, or the treat alone that makes a difference to people.

“It’s the knowledge that someone cares, the surprise of an unexpected treat in a box of essentials to bring a smile to a person’s face, and most importantly the chance for the Salvos to make a connection that could be the start of helping support someone to get back on their feet.”

The Salvation Army’s NSW Public Relations Secretary, Major David Collinson, says more Australians than ever are in need of support.

“All Australians are feeling the impacts of COVID-19, but some are doing it particularly tough as they struggle with food insecurity, homelessness, domestic violence, or mental health issues.

“Just like the challenges the 7-Eleven team are facing as they work to serve their customers safely, it is also a difficult time for us operationally as our team and volunteers have to operate our services in a COVIDSafe way.

“Having access to prepacked sandwiches, salads, sushi, hot pastries, yoghurt, milk, fruit, pre-prepared meals, and sweet treats like muffins, cakes and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, really supplements the food options we have available to provide through our facilities and services and to our partner organisations.

“Australians are always willing to do something to help someone doing it tough, and at times like this the generosity of individuals and organisations makes an incredible difference to people needing support.”

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