Following a shortage of toilet paper in Australia, after panic buying shoppers stripped the supermarket shelves, Virgin Australia has decided to donate all the loo rolls from its grounded aircraft. While this might sound a bit like an April fool’s wind-up, Virgin Australia appears to be dead serious about donating the toilet paper to charity following an acute shortage of inventory due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement published on Virgin Australia’s website, the Brisbane-based airline posted the following message:
“Virgin Australia has today flipped April Fool’s Day on its head, turning the airline’s annual prank into a reality.”
Virgin Australia has canceled all international flights
Now, in a bid to help vulnerable members of Australian society, the airline says it will “rescue” toilet paper from its 125 grounded aircraft and storage facilities.
Once the toilet rolls have been collected, they will be donated to the airline’s community partners that include the Salvation Army.
As soon as the public started taking the coronavirus seriously, the first thing many people did was rush out and fill their shopping trolleys with what they considered to be vital supplies.
One of these vital necessities was, of course, toilet paper, which seemed to disappear out of Australian supermarkets in minutes. Now fearing that there would be a shortage, more people started to stock up leaving the stores shelves empty.
Scott Morrison called the panic buying “un-Australian”
On hearing that there was a rush on toilet paper, soaps, disinfectants, and long-life foods, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Canberra last week:
“It is not sensible, it is not helpful and it has been one of the most disappointing things I have seen in Australian behavior in response to this crisis.
“It’s ridiculous, it’s un-Australian, and it must stop.”
In response to the Prime Minister’s message, Virgin Australia’s general manager of Product & Customer Experience Sarah Adam said that the airline has a lot of toilet paper that it is not using and that it hopes by donating it to charities it will help some families in need.
“Each year our passengers use enough toilet paper to stretch from Sydney to Los Angeles, so we’re thrilled that in true Virgin spirit, we’re going to help the elderly, the vulnerable, medical staff, and our charity partners, by giving them the supply of toilet paper that’s currently locked up in our grounded aircraft and storage facilities throughout Australia,” she said.
Joining in with Virgin’s spirit, tissue maker Kleenex has said that it will match roll for roll everything that Virgin Australia donates to charity.
The Salvation Army will help distribute the toilet paper
After learning of Virgin Australia’s initiative, spokesperson for the Salvation Army Major Bruce Hammer said:
“It’s so wonderful to see such a strong community spirit in the team at Virgin Australia. The Salvation Army will ensure any donation of toilet paper reaches the older and vulnerable people in our communities during this unprecedented time of need.”
For the time being, Virgin Australia is operating a limited number of domestic flights that are deemed as being essential and are planning to resume international flights starting on June 14th.