Diaspora community volunteers in the Victorian regional town of Shepparton have rallied to help thousands of isolating residents who are struggling to get essential groceries.
There are 660 known cases of COVID-19 in the state of Victoria with about one in 10 infections based in Shepparton. About 20,000 residents in the region, which has a population of about 65,000, are believed to be self-isolating, forcing the closure of food stores, supermarkets and pharmacies due to staff shortages.
Shepparton community and volunteer organisations have joined forces under the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project to create the GV Cares network, which is now delivering essential goods to residents through contactless delivery, ABC News reported. Vaccinated volunteers are helping with the delivery of essential goods being distributed to all demographics across the city.
Shepparton’s Sikh community has rallied behind the isolating residents by providing cooked meals. The meals will go to feed vulnerable communities struggling in quarantine. Gurmeet Singh, General Secretary of the Guru Nanak Sikh Society Shepparton, told NRI Affairs that they had supplied 100 cooked meals on Wednesday and Thursday to GV Cares, which they increased to 200 meals today. The expect to scale it up further on Saturday and Sunday. They also plan to provide grocery packs from Monday.
The local Shepparton Malayalee community of about 400 community members, a large proportion of which is employed in the healthcare sector in the Goulburn Valley Region, has reached out to its network to offer assistance to residents who need any help. Norvin Anthony, Secretary – Shepparton Malayalee Association (SHEMA) told NRI Affairs that the association has reached out to the local Mayor, Kim O’Keefe, and offered the association’s assistance.
“We have got a team with six to seven members and we have posted on social media that if anyone wants help with shopping groceries or medicine, please contact our volunteers. And we’re helping in that way,” Anthony told NRI Affairs.
The Greater Shepparton Council has provided information on emergency food relief on its ACCESS TO FOOD page, which contains useful links and contacts for assistance with “making sure you and your family have access to food, including emergency food relief, affordable food packs and home delivery.”