Read more about COVID-19 Preparedness & Responsiveness

SPAR Partners staying strong and better together

March 30, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: COVID-19

As COVID-19 continues to affect countries around the globe, SPAR Partners are standing firm in their resolve to act together, supporting each other through the sharing of material and knowledge resources. SPAR Partners, such as those in China and Italy, are turning a shared sense of responsibility and solidarity into action in the fight against the epidemic through donations and collaboration, aiding those communities most in need of assistance.

In solidarity with their European colleagues, SPAR Shandong in China has provided a key example of partner support by donating 100,000 face masks and 100,000 gloves. These invaluable safety resources were dispatched this week to Northern Italy where authorities have required all in-store team members to wear such protective gear.

SPAR China’s show of support has been met with gratitude in Italy, with Paul Klotz, President of Despar Italia, praising the donation as a source of inspiration.

“These words come from Italy, a country that is far, far away from your country, but never as today, our countries, our thoughts have been so close. There are two words that we want to get you through the thousands of miles that divide us, and it is Thank You”, writes Paul Klotz in a letter to SPAR Shandong on 25 March. 

“The masks and gloves that arrived from SPAR Shandong to our stores, and that were distributed to our colleagues, have been invaluable for us. Not only because these are incredibly challenging materials to find, but because with your generous gesture you have delivered us solidarity, a load of energy, and inspirational strength: all valuable resources which at this moment for us are even more difficult to find.” 

Partner solidarity
The coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak struck China as it was preparing for the busiest time of year – the Chinese New Year and Spring festival. The response by SPAR Partners was both exemplary and swift, providing key learnings on dealing with the outbreak.

During the epidemic, SPAR Partners in China not only successfully continued to serve customers by providing for their daily grocery needs but also through community initiatives, including generous donations towards domestic epidemic prevention. 

Among these initiatives, Jiajiayue Group, SPAR Partner in the northern province of Shandong, on 1 February donated 8 million yuan (over €1 million) towards epidemic prevention and control efforts in the city of Weihai and Shandong province.

Since the middle of March, the epidemic situation in various parts of China has been gradually controlled, while other parts of the world only just began experiencing the impact of the epidemic. Based on its experience in dealing with the outbreak, SPAR China is now lending its support across borders. 

“Every colleague working at the supermarket is a warrior on the battlefield against the virus, they make huge sacrifices and fight hard to ensure their customers have daily supplies, which ensure the stability of the society”, writes Wang Peiyu, Chairman of SPAR China and Chairman of SPAR Shandong, in a letter to Despar Italy.

“If those warriors do not have enough protection, they will be exposed to huge risks; we just went through the same difficulties and challenges ourselves and can deeply empathise with what you must face now. We hope our small contribution can provide some support to your warriors in the battle against the pandemic.”

“SPAR China and SPAR Shandong will continue to support SPAR International, help other SPAR members however we can, make sure our frontline colleagues are safe, and give their families peace of mind”, notes Chairman Wang Peiyu.

Supporting medical professionals
To support frontline medical professionals in fighting the epidemic, Despar in turn has donated a sum of €500.000 to the Spallanzani Institute in Rome, Italy’s centre of excellence for research and treatment in the field of infectious diseases.

The donation is part of Despar’s measures to help communities deal with the consequences of the outbreak, besides ensuring the continuity of supply and a safe environment for employees and customers.

“We thank Despar for its support. At this moment all resources are important to support the efforts which, together with the entire National Health System, we are fielding to treat those who have been infected by Covid-19”, said Marta Branca, General Manager of the Spallanzani Institute.

Better together
Facing an epidemic that knows no borders, SPAR Partners are demonstrating their strength and resolve in acting together. Worldwide over 350,000 SPAR colleagues are working each day to ensure the safe and smooth supply of products and essential services to the communities we serve.

Despite the enormous challenges we face today, we are confident that we shall prevail and come through this crisis even stronger and better together.