CAFES, council and business have banded together to help those in need, as central Victoria faces soaring demand for help.
A new crowdfunding campaign aims to help pay cafes and restaurants who have been providing meals to Bendigo Foodshare.
The GoFundMe page aims to raise $10,000 to pay businesses $5 per meal.
It's already raised more than $1300, after just a few days live.
Manager Bridget Bentley said eateries were supporting Bendigo Foodshare, despite doing it tough themselves. She said the payment was to appreciate and recognise the work eateries had done.
Cooking for Foodshare also gave eateries a chance to work together on something positive, Ms Bentley said.
The initiative comes as Australian unemployment levels are expected to double to 10 per cent by June.
About 26,500 people in the Bendigo region already lived in poverty before the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Ms Bentley said Bendigo Foodshare's agencies had reported a growing demand for help.
She urged anyone needing help to come forward, and reinforced that asking for help was OK.
"We know that people are out there struggling, and we hope that they can see Foodshare as one of the things that can help them stretch their finances further," Ms Bentley said.
"People are really struggling, and they are seeking help with their finances. But we know that for many, there's a stigma attached to food relief."
Sangia Spanish Tapas Bar has been among the businesses providing meals to Foodshare.
Owner Ann-Maree Davis said she had seen a significant reduction in business, but wanted to do her bit regardless.
"As a community we really need to pull together to help our own," Ms Davis said.
"We were just really concerned about our community. We know that there have been significant job losses in Bendigo and our surrounding communities.
"What this means is that people who've never asked for help before are finding things really difficult. We just wanted to do our bit to help really."
To find out more, visit: gofundme.com/f/bendigo-foodshare-fund.
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