Coles Glen Innes staff divided by footy but united in fundraiser for sick kids

BATTLE ON: Blues supporter Debbie Mepham confronts maroons fan Leanne Parker in the aisles of Coles as the supermarket supports a fundraiser for kids in hospitals.
BATTLE ON: Blues supporter Debbie Mepham confronts maroons fan Leanne Parker in the aisles of Coles as the supermarket supports a fundraiser for kids in hospitals.

Next time you’re passing through the checkout at Coles be prepared to be offered a raffle ticket for the annual Cheer for the Kids campaign. Staff are keen to support this annual campaign for children’s hospitals (Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital in Brisbane), and you could win a car or free groceries.

Now in its 17th year, the Coles campaign revolves around the rugby league State of Origin series with outlets in NSW and Queensland in theory divided along blue and maroon lines. Being relatively close to the border here, however, the friendly rivalry comes in-store and staff have been dressing to show their true colours.

Store manager Anthony Veldhuizen said while the campaign is long-running the prizes seem to be getting better, with a Holden Astra on offer this year. Local dealership Glen Innes Holden has been very supportive, providing an Astra to have on display at the shop entrance to entice ticket buyers. Holden and Coca-Cola Amatil are partnering with Coles in the Cheer for the Kids campaign.

“If we have a local winner, that could be the actual car they win,” Mr Veldhuizen said.

He has seen a jump in ticket sales since the car came on-site, as shoppers see what could be in store for them.

He’d love to see the prizes go to local ticket buyers, and said he’d also be more than happy to guide the second or third prize winner around store, with $2000 and $1000 Coles gift cards (respectively) on offer.

Goles Glen Innes manager Anthony Veldhuizen and team members (from back) Linda Cresnik, Tracey Carpenter, Debbie Mepham, Chris Marshall and Leanne Parker would love to see the car go to a local.

Goles Glen Innes manager Anthony Veldhuizen and team members (from back) Linda Cresnik, Tracey Carpenter, Debbie Mepham, Chris Marshall and Leanne Parker would love to see the car go to a local.

Shoppers can purchase their raffle tickets at Coles until Tuesday, June 27. The winners will be drawn on August 8 at Sydney Children’s Hospital.

Coles State Operations Manager Emma Bridges said Coles is delighted to support the hospital, to ensure it can continue the work it does in supporting children in need.

“This cause is close to the hearts of our customers and team members – many of whom have children of their own – so we are very proud to raise money for Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation to support sick kids and their families,” she said.

“Last year NSW made a tremendous effort to support sick kids, donating more than $400,000 in the four week period. This year our NSW team is going bigger and bluer to raise even more money for the Hospital.”

Kids Cancer Centre Director, Associate Professor Tracey O’Brien was the first Fellow to be funded by the Cheer for the Kids campaign.

“Fifteen years ago funding from the Cheer for the Kids campaign supported my Fellowship in umbilical cord blood transplants, helping to provide a real difference to children in Australia,” she said.

“Cheer for the Kids has directly impacted the lives of many children living with cancer by providing funding for state-of-the-art care and medical advancements in the paediatric field. Thanks to this raffle, we’ve been able to help so many children across NSW and the ACT,” she said.