Qui­etly nour­ish­ing their neigh­bours

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID JAMES

They might work for one of the largest companies in the world, but they live in Marl­bor­ough, and they care for Marl­bor­ough.

Be­cause of that, they are at a drop-in shel­ter in Blen­heim on a cold Thursday morn­ing with boxes of food they col­lected for strug­gling fam­i­lies.

The de­liv­ery is part of Con­stel­la­tion Brands’ Nour­ish­ing Neigh­bours ini­tia­tive, launched with­out much fan­fare in 2014 to make the com­pany more so­cially re­spon­si­ble.

The team have jobs scat­tered around Marl­bor­ough but they all want to help.

‘‘It’s all about ‘give time, give food and give money’ and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence,’’ says Lisa Coyle, an ad­min­is­tra­tor at the Dry­lands Win­ery.

‘‘John’s Kitchen is re­ally an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity.’’

Coyle is joined by River­lands Win­ery cel­lar su­per­vi­sor Rob Lane, South Wairau viti­cul­ture man­ager An­drew Benger and Dry­lands cel­lar su­per­vi­sor Rick Alder­li­este.

To­gether they make up the com­pany’s Marl­bor­ough cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity com­mit­tee.

Benger has been with Con­stel­la­tion Brands for the past year and says for many Nour­ish­ing Neigh­bours is a per­sonal com­mit­ment to so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity.

‘‘I think be­cause the Con­stel­la­tion group has had such hum­ble beginnings as a small fam­ily busi­ness, and just grew, they still have that ethos of grass­roots ... It still has its ori­gins in com­mu­ni­ties.

‘‘Ev­ery­one we work with cares. I mean, they see it around them; the need for gaps to be filled, and to help oth­ers in need. They make it a part of their lives.’’

Dur­ing Septem­ber, Con­stel­la­tion Brands also held a ’Blue Break­fast’ fundraiser for prostate cancer at its Dry­lands and River­lands sites and had a barbe- cue for chil­dren at May­field School.

Coyle says the com­mit­tee in Marl­bor­ough is made up of in­di­vid­u­als who care about mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­nity.

‘‘We all have back­grounds in com­mu­nity vol­un­teer­ing and we do man­age to keep do­ing some­thing year round,’’ she says.

Cross­roads Marl­bor­ough Char­i­ta­ble Trust co-or­di­na­tor Janette Walker be­lieves companies should be so­cially re­spon­si­ble, giv­ing back to the com­mu­ni­ties that make them money.

‘‘Con­stel­la­tion have been help­ing out here for as long as I have been here, for the past three to four years. The food they pro­vide will go to fam­i­lies that don’t have enough,’’ Walker says.

‘‘Ev­ery­one, I be­lieve, needs a hand up at some stage in their lives ... I think most peo­ple have been through a rough patch in their life, where they may need a lit­tle help in times of hard­ship.

‘‘It’s nice to pro­vide that handup dur­ing times when peo­ple are their most vul­ner­a­ble.’’

But a lot of busi­nesses in Marl­bor­ough like to help out, Walker says.

‘‘They qui­etly get on with it. They ei­ther lend their time or re­sources to this, and with­out a lot of fan­fare, be­cause that’s not re­ally what it’s about for them, it’s about pay­ing it for­ward.’’

PHOTO: DAVID JAMES/STUFF

Drop­ping off the goods at John’s Kitchen, from left, Rob Lane, Rick Alder­li­este and Lisa Coyle.

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