Working together … in response to COVID


Working together … in response to 22 COVID.jpg

Last year, we were approached by the Federal Group to assist them to support their team members who were impacted when COVID forced our state into lockdown. We were pleased to be able to help and were honoured last week to be recognised by Federal at their Supplier Awards. Read on to find out more about how we were involved.

Below is a speech presented by Tanya Kruimink, People and Culture Manager Odyssey and Network Gaming, at the Federal Group Supplier Awards. Tanya’s words highlight the significant steps that Federal took to support their team during lockdown.

When COVID hit, Federal Group had two priorities:

•          to protect the long-term future of the company; and

•          to keep our people safe.

To make sure our people had access to financial support during the devastating shutdown, Jobkeeper payments were implemented quickly, even before the Federal Government formally passed legislation.   I can’t tell you the relief that action provided to so many of us.

But it became obvious that there were people in the diverse Federal family, including our 200 temporary visa holders, that would fall between the cracks and would not be eligible for any form of Government support.

These people often had very little or no savings as they had been supporting family members overseas. They were facing desperate times with no income.

In response the Farrell Family committed to a program that would look after these people and their families. I have never been prouder in my entire 25 year career to belong to an organization.

The first step was to work out those who were in need, which involved reaching out to our people and setting up a process to identify those at risk.

Their needs were basic, yet fundamental: shelter, medical costs, heating and food.

Early in the process my daughter and I went to the supermarket and made food boxes that we delivered to their homes. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the tears of deep appreciation on fathers’ faces as they realised their family would be fed. My 15 year old will never forget the 3 year old singing “we’ve got food, we’ve got food”. These were indeed desperate times.

All up, we identified over 120 families that needed urgent assistance. What was clear was that the scale was beyond my daughter and I pushing trolleys around, and we needed to scale up our efforts and identify an organization that could help us to help our people.

We reached out to Tasmanian owned Hill Street known for their customer care and willingness to always go ‘above and beyond’.  Our vision was to supply our people in need with weekly Food Boxes filled with fresh produce, meats, non-perishables and some household and personal care items.

When Hill Street agreed to partner with us, I don’t think they quite knew what they were getting themselves in for.

For the following 8 months they helped us care for our most vulnerable people as though they were their own. 

Hill Street’s demonstrated a deep sensitivity to each individual’s needs, preferences and cultural requirements; including ordering in items not usually stocked and finding creative solutions to some challenging requests we faced. It was their unwavering commitment and attention to the smallest details saw many of our vulnerable people referring to the Food Boxes as ‘Boxes of Love’. 

Hill Street’s genuine care for our people was demonstrated daily.

The Sandy Bay store manager, Euan Wiseman, is here with us tonight oversaw the project. During the 8 months that he headed up this project, we suspect Euan was often late home for dinner, as he dashed to meet our last-minute requests and was known to personally deliver some requested items to our people.

We were touched that Hill Street delivery drivers also let them know on occasion if they had concerns that one of our vulnerable team members seemed flat or unlike their usual selves and may need additional support, when they delivered the boxes.

Regular last-minute requests, same day deliveries, order changes, or adding in extra items offered up by Federal Group team members, were never met with any angst from the Hill Street team.

They quickly responded to our requests - 7 days a week and outside working hours.

Hill Street got to know our people by name and could readily recall their preferences.  I am sure if we asked Euan tonight he would be able to tell us who is lactose free, who doesn’t eat red meat, who loves Tim Tams and what the individual delivery instructions were – some requested a call first, or that boxes were left on the verandah, or asked to meet at the letter box….

Whilst we all hope that we never see similar circumstances arise again, it was a privilege to work in this capacity with Hill Street and their support is something we will never forget.

We would like to take a moment tonight to formally acknowledge Hill Street as a “Friend of Federal Group”; in appreciation of their outstanding service and support whilst delivering over 2500 food boxes to our people during 2020.

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