SOME of the region's most vulnerable migrant and refugee families will have pantry staples and produce delivered to their door, as Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services responds to the coronavirus pandemic.
But adapting to the conditions will likely mean increased costs for the not-for-profit organisation.
More than half of the 50-odd families that access the Multicultural Services food bank program each week have accepted the offer of a home delivery tomorrow.
Executive officer Kate McInnes said the program was usually very social and people just dropped by on a Tuesday afternoon to collect what they needed.
Multicultural Services will be offering its food bank via home delivery, instead.
Ms McInnes said bilingual staff had been calling participants to let them know about the changes and ask if they wanted a delivery this week.
"Some people have kindly said no," she said.
About 30 families are on the list. It remains to be seen what demand - and delivery costs - will look like, long-term.
"We don't know how long we will be in this situation," Ms McInnes said.
Multicultural Services receives food for the program from Bendigo Foodshare and Foodbank Victoria.
What vulnerable migrant and refugee families got in their deliveries would depend on what those organisations were able to provide, Ms McInnes said.
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She said panic buying meant Foodbank Victoria's stocks were quite short, "one of the many reasons people shouldn't be panic buying".
Other Multicultural Services programs are being adapted to reduce coronavirus risks, like English language learning.
One of the important functions the organisation was working to provide was information and support, Ms McInnes said.
That included providing COVID-19 information via messaging applications and videos in languages spoken in the region, such as Karen, Dari and Dinka.
A video about hand washing is expected to be released in Karen this week, in response to questions from the community.
"Our work is all about multicultural communities helping multicultural communities," manager Rose Vincent said.
"As a migrant myself, I know the challenges faced when you're new in a country and still learning English.
"It is incredibly important that at this time we find new ways to support each other and share factual information, using a range of methods and in a range of languages."
For more information about the Multicultural Services food bank program or to assist with delivery costs, visit lcms.org.au.
To make a donation to Bendigo Foodshare, visit bendigofoodshare.org.au
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