Relief fund puts food on table

Families in need will receive a boost thanks to a partnership between the City of Whittlesea and Bundoora community relief agency Encompass Care Vic.

Council recently approved a donation of $18,000 from its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to Encompass Care Vic.

As well as the donation, Council is providing redeployed staff to assist with making phone calls on behalf of Encompass Care to check in on the welfare of service users and ensure they are receiving care.

Encompass Care is part of the Whittlesea Food Collective and provides referrals, food, toiletries, homeless packs and care essentials to families in need. Due to COVID-19 restrictions their community café and breakfast programs were forced to shut down, however the team adapted and grew its food hub to cater for the community need.

City of Whittlesea Acting CEO Joe Carbone, who visited Encompass Care in Bundoora today, said Council was pleased to be able to support local agencies.

“Our Emergency Relief Fund was developed to help those groups in our community who are already doing a fantastic job providing much-needed support,” he said.

“We are pleased to be able to help Encompass Care with some financial and resourcing support to ensure the important work they do in our community can continue.”

Encompass Care Vic CEO Lois Spinella said the organisation was passionate about partnering with other agencies to meet the growing needs of the vulnerable in our community.

“Our team is committed to pulling together resources to do whatever it takes to ensure we meet the community need,” she said.

“Thanks to Encompass Church who donated a larger premises and initial funding we were able to respond quickly to the needs of people during the pandemic and adapt our service during this time to provide goods to families in needs, and make referrals to other organisation for critical cases. Just this week we were able to help families who had hit rock bottom.

“As an unfunded organisation that is run by volunteers, Encompass Care Vic relies on the generosity of the community to support families.

“Thanks to the funds so quickly and generously provided by the City of Whittlesea, we will now be able to restore funds used at the beginning of the pandemic to continue supplying hearty packages.

“This funding will go directly to providing food parcels and purchasing toiletries for vulnerable families and we thank Council for collaborating with us to continue to tackle not only food insecurity but all the issues we are confronted with by our service users.”

The $18,000 donation is part of Council’s $200,000 Emergency Relief Fund. Council has also provided $50,000 to Whittlesea Community Connections and $25,000 to Big Group Hug.

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