One volunteer Liesbeth Geveling says she meets with 94-year-old customer Christien Smits every week. “I go and have a drink with her or do some shopping, we've become real buddies,’ she says. “We will regularly visit the Coffee Corner to get into contact with those who are in need of some support. Just looking out for each other."
It’s a huge shift given the growing trend amongst supermarkets to push customers towards self service and have less interaction with staff. And while many Australian supermarkets have embraced ‘Quiet Shopping Hours’ for special needs customers and their children, Jumbo is the first store chain around the world to do something to address loneliness in the community. Will Coles and Woolworths follow suit?