Funding boost for food relief services

Ni Cengaam and Duke Street Community House community development officer Kat Day. (Damjan Janevski) 215237_03

Esther Lauaki

Food relief services in Brimbank can apply for state funding to ensure they reach out to those in need, as safely as possible.

The state government last week announced an $11.3 million to boost food relief activities for vulnerable Victorians.

A new $5 million Community Food Relief Fund will provide one-off grants of up to $75,000 to support local community organisations supplying food to Victorians in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

This funding will assist with a range of challenges – like helping develop innovative food relief delivery models to support COVID safe practices.

Duke Street Community House has been supplying up to 30 essential food hampers a week to Brimbank residents in need throughout the pandemic.

Manager Lana Bedford told Star Weekly that the community had been hit hard by the pandemic and many are struggling to afford the basics.

“Victoria is currently experiencing the worst health and economic crisis in its history,” Ms Bedford said.

“At Duke Street Community House, we have certainly seen first hand the toll that the pandemic is having on the people of our community.

“Not just from an economic perspective, but the impact that the current restrictions are also having on the emotional and mental wellbeing of our residents.

“Never before have we experienced so many people in desperate need of support.”

Premier Daniel Andrews stressed how “vitally important” it was to expand support for food relief programs.

“We want Victoria’s food relief system to be able to support people when and where they need it, in a COVID safe way,” Mr Andrews said.

“Even as our case numbers fall, we are extending the emergency food relief program for Victorians in mandatory quarantine so that people can still safely stay at home and stop the spread of coronavirus.”

Esther Lauaki