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Woolworths extends partnership with FoodForward SA

| Social Responsibility

 Woolworths is proud to announce the extension of its partnership with FoodForward SA (FFSA) for an additional three years, committing further funding of R3.45 million to support the organisation's crucial work in alleviating hunger across South Africa.

Woolworths has been a steadfast partner of FFSA for the past six years, contributing over R6 million (R1 million per year) for the organisation to expand its operations. This continued partnership will not only provide significant financial support but also ensure that all surplus food from Woolworths' store operations is donated to vetted charities around South Africa via FFSA’s innovative virtual foodbanking programme, managed by the FoodShare digital platform. This platform serves a network of 2,500 vetted beneficiary organisations, supporting 920,000 vulnerable individuals with daily access to nutritious food.

During the last financial year, the organisation recovered and distributed 21,760 tons of food, with an impressive 65% (14,160 tons) attributed to Woolworths' contributions via the FoodShare platform. This donation equates to an astounding 56.6 million meals, significantly aiding FFSA in reducing their cost per meal from R0.56 to R0.47. Additionally, Woolworths' FoodShare donations have contributed to saving 73,632 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the environmental benefits of this partnership.

Zinzi Mgolodela, Woolworths Director of Corporate Affairs, expressed her enthusiasm for the extended partnership: "We welcome the opportunity to continue our partnership with FFSA. They support our Inclusive Justice Initiative’s vision to ‘leave no one behind’ and share our ZEROHunger2030 vision. Over the last 15 years, they have significantly expanded their reach and impact, making remarkable strides toward a South Africa with no hunger."

FFSA, the largest food distribution organisation in South Africa, plays a pivotal role in alleviating hunger, reducing food loss and waste, and positively impacting the environment.  The organisation also focuses on upskilling youth to ensure food security in the food value chain for future generations. With Woolworths' funding, FFSA launched a supply chain internship programme in 2019, targeting unemployed youth. This six-month programme covers warehousing, stock management, and logistics, comprising 70% practical and 30% academic training.

Since its inception in Cape Town, the programme has expanded to KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, and Rustenburg, training over 60 interns and providing permanent employment opportunities to 19 of them. One notable success story is that of Dylan Simpson, who began his journey in the inaugural cohort of interns. His dedication and hard work have seen him rise from a general worker to a licensed truck driver, exemplifying the opportunities for personal growth offered by FFSA

Andy Du Plessis, Managing Director of FFSA, expressed his gratitude for Woolworths' continued support: "We value and are very appreciative of our partnership with Woolworths. They believe in us and our business model, and through their surplus food donations and funding, we have been able to elevate our operations to a national level, reaching 920,000 vulnerable beneficiaries with daily access to quality food. We look forward to continuing this growth over the next three years and beyond."

The extended partnership between Woolworths and FFSA stands as a testament to their shared commitment to reducing hunger and improving lives across South Africa.

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