A message from our CEO – coronavirus response

Nine weeks ago, we were in the middle of our emergency food relief response for the Victorian bushfires. What we did as a community then was truly incredible – the level of care we showed for each other, the thoughtfulness and well-wishes towards people caught up in affected communities, shows how we come together in tough times.

Those towns have barely started the recovery journey and we find ourselves facing another crisis with the coronavirus.

Now, with Victoria in a state of emergency to help contain the virus’ spread, it’s not only the communities made vulnerable by fires and the economic impact of rebuilding who are hurting. Our frail, our immune-compromised and our elderly are having real trouble getting to supermarkets, finding food and those everyday essential items that should be on our shelves.

On Sunday 22 March, the Victorian Government announced a new program where Victorians in mandatory isolation – with no access to funds, food, family or friends – will receive emergency relief packages containing food and essential grocery items. We are working hard to pack these packages and ensure they’re ready for distribution by the Red Cross.

Requests for care packages can be made by calling Victoria’s dedicated coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398. More information can be found here.

And while we’re working hard to help isolated Victorians, our charity partners are seeing an increased demand for food relief. The result of panic-buying and the pressure this has had on supermarkets, has placed a shortage on food and groceries supplied to Foodbank Victoria.

The sheer demand for food relief and ‘social distancing’ means that unlike our bushfire relief efforts, we’re unable to open our doors and accept public food donations. Instead, we’re working with our partners across the food and grocery sector to ensure we have bulk supply of items in most demand, like cereal, UHT milk and canned vegetables.

That’s why we need your help. Everybody is feeling the shortage, but with your financial support we can source essential food and grocery items to continue supporting our charity partners and those isolated Victorians who have no food, family or friends to rely on.

Every $1 donation allows us to provide 2 meals to someone in need. You can make an online donation here.

Whether it’s everyday emergencies, the recent bushfires or the current coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been providing vital food relief to vulnerable Victorians for 90 years. Unfortunately, our service is needed more than ever and we thank you for support during these turbulent times.

For now, take care of each other, look after yourselves, and make sure you’re getting your information from reliable sources like the Department of Health and Human Services.