Supermarket chain swept out in Broome

After a policy change by Coles supermarkets said to make it more difficult for people in need to use food vouchers, Broome diocese's Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace says local charities will give their business to rival Woolworths.

A change of policy by Coles in regard to the use food vouchers has made the provision of assistance to the poor and disadvantaged more difficult, Br Shane Wood from the Catholic Diocesan Office of Justice, Ecology & Peace in Broome, said in a statement.

"It is disappointing that Coles has ignored requests from local organisations which have dealt with food vouchers for Emergency Relief to allow their current process to continue to operate," Br Wood said.

"Centacare Kimberley alone would handle requests for food vouchers amounting to around $40,000 per year.

According to Br Wood, the majority of this money has been spent with the two large supermarkets in the town - Coles and Woolworths (previously Action).

"Other organisations which handle Emergency Relief funds would be expending smaller amounts," he said.

"These are not insignificant amounts of money and we would have thought that the large supermarket chain would have been interested in making their service as user friendly as possible, especially for the organisations that are attempting to help the most disadvantaged in the community.

The justice spokesperson said that Coles' new arrangements do not allow for accurate accounting for the expenditure of the Emergency Relief money provided to organisations like Centacare so people will not be able to spend their money at Coles in the future.

"We have heard that Woolworths has allowed organisations to keep their current system. This is a very big plus for Woolworths," he added.

"It is a pity that Coles were not as responsive despite requests for a reconsideration of their policy."

Coles change of policy makes helping the poor more difficult (5/6/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

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6 Jun 2007