Quietly nourishing their neighbours in Marlborough

Good times at John's Kitchen as Janette Walker, second from right, receives boxes of food from Constellation staff, from ...
DAVID JAMES/STUFF

Good times at John's Kitchen as Janette Walker, second from right, receives boxes of food from Constellation staff, from left, Rick Alderlieste, Lisa Coyle, Andrew Benger and Rob Lane.

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. 

Dropping off the goods at John's Kitchen, from left, Rob Lane, Rick Alderlieste and Lisa Coyle.
DAVID JAMES/STUFF

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

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

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"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.

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"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 barbecue 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 hand-up 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."

 - The Marlborough Express

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