SOCIAL support organisations are bracing for a rise in demand for food, and other support, as Bendigo prepares for tighter restrictions.
Leaders say community members will need to look out for each other support their neighbours, to make it through another tough time.
Bendigo Foodshare chair Cathie Steele said she expected demand for food support to continue to grow with the new restrictions.
Ms Steele said demand had risen 30-40 per cent since the COVID-19 crisis began, continuing to grow even after the first stage three restrictions loosened.
She said central Victoria needed to pull together as a community to help each other, and make sure people were not isolated, to make it through.
We've got to pull together and make sure no one gets left behind. It's only by going together that we'll make this work.Cathie Steele
"If there's a neighbour you know who's doing it really, really tough, and you can buy a few extra things and drop it on their doorstep, that's really important. Or just ringing people and saying, 'How are you going?'" Ms Steele said.
"Central Victoria's a fantastic community, and we'll get through it, and we can help each other to get through it.
"We've got to pull together and make sure no one gets left behind. It's only by going together that we'll make this work."
Bendigo Salvation Army Major Andrew Walker said even on Monday more people were accessing food assistance.
Mr Walker said with community transmission taking place more people were self-isolating, and needing deliveries.
He said the Salvation Army had even delivered food to one person with COVID-19 who needed help.
Mr Walker said people accessing assistance will be one of the biggest demands, so the Salvation Army was preparing to do more deliveries.
He urged people to keep an eye on their neighbours, and encourage people who need it to ask for help.
Bendigo Family and Financial Services general manager Jenny Elvey said the returned restrictions would be a stressful time for many, especially those suffering from depression and anxiety.
Ms Elvey said it was important people avoided panic buying, so people on low incomes could access what they needed.
She said it was hard to anticipate what demand for food support would be like.
But Ms Elvey said the service had seen new clients who had never accessed food support before, since the COVID-19 crisis began.
Ms Elvey said she expected to see an increase in that group.
She urged people to look after each other.
"It's a tough time, and there's going to be a lot that are experiencing a higher level of sadness and isolation," Ms Elvey said.
"That's a really important message we need to get out there, check in on our neighbours."
How can I help?
Ms Steele said Foodshare needed a few more weekend volunteers, especially those comfortable driving a three part van.
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