If you had to leave home in a hurry, with one box to fill, what would you take?

Countdown teams around the country fill boxes of food, clothes and hygiene products for Women’s Refuges

5 April, 2017: Countdown stores across the country have donated clothes, food, toys and grocery items to Women’s Refuge as part of a team challenge to consider what you would need if you had to leave home in a hurry with one box to fill.

Last year Countdown was recognised as a Good Business Egg by BACS (Business and Community Shares) New Zealand, winning the Health and Wellbeing category.  At that time, BACS presented winners with a 596cm by 406cm large cardboard box. Each winner was challenged to present the filled box to Women’s Refuge a year later, at the BACS awards ceremony last night.

Julie Donvin-Irons, Founder and Director BACS: Business and Community Shares says the challenge is entrusted to the winners of the Good Business Egg to complete and it is up to each individual company to decide how best to fill their box.

“It’s a reminder to businesses who invest in their community that it is a process of continual investment, that always needs nurturing, and we’re pleased to see Countdown offer their services and skills,” says Julie Donvin-Irons.

Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, James Walker, says Countdown decided it would personalise the challenge to what the supermarket business could uniquely offer. As one of the first companies in New Zealand to introduce a Family Violence Policy, teams from around the country were quick to join in.

“What started off as one box has now seen 35 of these large boxes delivered to Women’s Refuges around New Zealand where Countdown stores are located, with a range of goods from home including pre-loved dresses, clothes and kids toys, to supermarket staples like tea, coffee, Milo, mugs, plates and other household utensils,” says James Walker.

“Our support teams have also got involved sending a further five boxes of goods including sample products such as pyjamas, robes, tins of food, baby formula, washing powder as well as hot and cold drinks, hygiene products and other essential items needed when you are forced to leave home in a hurry.  As well as goods and gift cards, our teams have also included messages of support and encouragement, “he says.

Women’s Refuge offers a wide range of services and programmes across New Zealand for women and their families who are experiencing family violence.  In the last year more than 40,000 women and children were referred to Women’s Refuge for help.

Women’s Refuge Principal Adviser Ruth MacIntyre-Bardell says “Despite family violence being a prolific and widespread problem in New Zealand, many people find it difficult to understand what someone who is trying to leave family violence is going through, and this is what we like about Countdown’s concept.

“There are a lot of barriers that prevent women who are experiencing abuse from leaving their home and partner; their safety is paramount; and thinking about essentials they might need to take with is often the last thing on their minds. Having some of these more practical and essential goods, will really help us to support the women that seek out our services many of which are at their most vulnerable,” she says.

Countdown’s Family Violence Policy contains a range of support measures including an additional 10 days of leave for team members who are affected by family violence.

James Walker says, “We want to ensure that our team members have the necessary support to lead lives free of family violence. We’re also supporting our people with training across our offices, stores and plants, to build confidence in being able to recognise, respond to and refer team that may be impacted.”

Countdown presented their box for the Women’s Refuge at BACS evening last night (5 April)

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