BENDIGO advocates hope to highlight the difficulties COVID-19 has caused refugees, as they mark a week celebrating their contribution to Australian society.
Support services want to amplify the voices of those from refugee backgrounds through a series of events and exhibitions during the current Refugee Week.
It comes after increased reports of racist incidents since the COVID-19 crisis began, and as Black Lives Matter protests continue worldwide.
Rural Australian for Refugees representative Christine Cummins said the crisis had left thousands of people were left without work.
But Ms Cummins said most refugees in Bendigo were in an okay position, because they had settled through the humanitarian program.
She said thousands of people on bridging visas in Melbourne were vulnerable during the crisis, as casual work dried up.
In Bendigo a few people waiting on asylum claims were without income or support, Ms Cummins said.
She said many international students were also falling through the cracks.
For the Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Service the week has a special relevance, as Black Lives Matter protests continue.
LCMS plans hopes to help those from refugee backgrounds be heard through its refugee week activities.
These include an exhibition to share the lives of these people, through stories and photos.
On Friday the service will run its weekly Friday Food Safari as a virtual community meal, with 140 places already booked.
Chief executive Rose Vincent said the week came as LCMS stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
She said it was easy to think Australia was better than America, but each week community members shared experience of racism.
"For us it's about amplifying voices, ensuring people from refugee backgrounds are heard, have a seat at the table to share their experiences," Ms Vincent said.
"By definition, people who have come to Australia as refugees have survived horrendous persecution, war, have lived through incredible events.
"Especially at times like now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have so much to learn from people from refugee backgrounds."
RAR members will also rally for refugees in central Bendigo on Friday, by registration only.
"We're not going to be walking, we're just going to be standing with our placards to raise awareness of the really harsh reality that it is in Australia to seek asylum," she said.
"We want people to be reminded that there's still people suffering."
Ms Cummins is promoting a food drive for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne, to support families left without income.
She said tinned items such as tuna, vegetables, tomatoes, chickpeas and coconut cream, as well as unsalted raw nuts, honey, peanut butter, deodorant and biscuits were in high demand.
Drop off donations at the Good Loaf Sourdough Bakery, between June 20 and July 11.
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