Sustaining its targeted response to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, Coca-Cola Sri Lanka, distributed essential packs containing dry food, sanitary items and first aid to marginalized communities in areas severely affected by the pandemic. 6,175 vulnerable families in Gampaha (including Biyagama), Colombo, Puttalam, Kalutara, Katana, and Trincomalee districts benefitted from this initiative, which was implemented together with Coca-Cola’s long-term partner, The Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS). This initiative is part of Coca-Cola’s pledge to contribute LKR 130 Mn towards combating COVID-19 across impacted areas of the island.
Speaking on behalf of SLRCS, Director General Dr. Mahesh Gunasekara noted “We wish to express our sincere gratitude to this initiative by Coca-Cola and for partnering with SLRCS. We are extremely happy for being able to work together locally, signifying the global partnership between the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and Coca-Cola. This initiative comes at a crucial time when people are struggling with their household expenses for food and nutritional requirements.”
Mayank Arora, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd. noted “Coca-Cola has always stood strong together with the people of Sri Lanka to ‘make a difference’ during times of crisis. We are grateful to our long-standing partnership with the Sri Lanka Red Society, which has continuously supported us in delivering projects, previously during the floods and now the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Pankaj Sinha, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Sri Lanka Private Ltd. further added “We are humbled to collaborate with our partner Sri Lanka Red Cross in providing support to the health and safety of the people who need it the most during these times. We are hopeful that with collective efforts and resilience, we will be able to steer ourselves out of these testing times.”
Prior to the distribution, SLRCS and multiple government stakeholders determined a criterion to ensure that the packs are received only by the most vulnerable segments in society such as daily wage workers, low-income groups, the elderly and the differently abled. This initiative was further strengthened by working together with Coca-Cola’ partners the Marine Environment Protection Authority, Women in Management and ZOA to reach other vulnerable communities such as female-headed households, sanitation workers, refugees and the differently-abled. The essential packs, included dry food such as rice and sugar, sanitary items such as masks, hand sanitizers, soap and first aid items such as gloves, plaster, paracetamol, and a first aid booklet, which will support these communities through the crisis and their return to normalcy.
Adding further value to the beneficiaries during the distribution, SLRCS conducted COVID-19 awareness raising sessions and handed out leaflets on COVID-19 symptoms, prevention etc. and safe disposal of used masks and other safety kits. The partnership between Coca-Cola and SLRCS aims to support in the recovery of low-income, marginalized families most affected by the curfew imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic and to prevent hunger. Their efforts will contribute to maintaining physical, mental and psycho-social well-being and improving sanitary facilities to prevent bacteria and virus spreading conditions and increasing awareness COVID-19 prevention and the importance of injury prevention during this period.