'We are so proud of Mary': Cork woman in line for award for 'fabulous' work in community during pandemic

'We are so proud of Mary': Cork woman in line for award for 'fabulous' work in community during pandemic

Dealz Midleton assistant store manager, Mary O’Keefe, who has been nominated for a Frontline Hero award at the Retail Week Awards which take place on June 3.

A Midleton woman affectionately nicknamed ‘Mammy’ has been shortlisted for a prestigious award.

Dealz Midleton assistant store manager, Mary O’Keefe, has been nominated for a Frontline Hero award at the Retail Week Awards, which take place on June 3.

The Retail Week Awards celebrate and give thanks to people working in retail who have gone above and beyond for their community during the pandemic.

The Midleton woman has supported a number of charities during the pandemic and provided vulnerable customers with a new way to shop.

During the pandemic, Mary installed a new system accommodating elderly and vulnerable customers by taking telephone orders and arranging for items to be paid for and picked up.

When the Midleton Post Office burnt down there was real concern in the community as to how people were going to access services. For a number of weeks, Mary, with full PPE, drove locals to Castlemartyr so they could use the Post Office there – a round trip of 20kms.

“Mary was fabulous to offer up her own time and money to drive people from Midleton to here to collect their money,” Martina Joyce, Postmaster in Castlemartyr, said.

“She was so nice to the elderly, dropped them right outside, waited for them in the car, and returned them to their door.”

Mary also became involved with a local restaurant, running a ‘Meals on Wheels’ campaign. Additionally, Mary supported the Dealz store’s centrally selected ‘Product Focus’ throughout August, inviting customers to donate products to local charities.

This culminated in €2,900 worth of donations.

Throughout the pandemic, Mary and the team have driven around €10,000 worth of donations which have supported frontline services, Cork Penny Dinners, Children’s Leukaemia Association and ‘Help The Homeless’ East Cork Food Appeal.

“We are so proud of Mary,” Dealz Country Manager of Retail, Olivia McLoughlin, said.

“Covid-19 brought business challenges and had an unprecedented impact on the local community. Mary demonstrated determination for ensuring store standards remained exceptional and essential items were available, alongside a dedicated passion for supporting those in the community who needed it most.”

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