Bendigo Foodshare has recently expanded its reach, connecting with members of Bendigo's culturally and linguistically diverse communities, in what has been described as a "lifeline" by one volunteer.
For the first time, more than 400 members of the Bendigo Islamic Association and Bendigo Australia Indonesian Klub have received donations from Bendigo Foodshare.
"Mainstream organisations haven't been able to support or service these cohorts of the community," volunteer Abhishek Awasthi said.
"It is truly heartwarming to see families receive these lifelines and it's really critical to continue to support these people moving forward."
The coronavirus pandemic highlighted access gaps for Bendigo's CALD communities, Bendigo Foodshare chair Cathie Steele said.
"Many CALD people have had their casual or part-time work cut in some way and there exists a large demand in that population.
"These cultural organisations are doing a fantastic job in their community and getting them onboard has been a really big thing," Ms Steele said.
An extension of Bendigo Foodshare's footprint comes amid Anti-Poverty Week, which calls for further action to avoid hunger and homelessness.
APW executive director Toni Wren said 2020 has shown we can take action to protect those already living in poverty.
"Emergency responses this year must now be turned into permanent policies that ensure all people living in Australia have a chance to thrive," Ms Wren said.
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters said investment by the Federal Government in the form of welfare payments and social housing is critical to erode poverty.
"In the Bendigo electorate, there's a shortfall of 2900 social housing properties and around 400 people are homeless," Ms Chesters said.
"Investment in this space is a win for both those who can't afford a home and for the jobs we need to build our way out of the pandemic."
To access Bendigo Foodshare, contact 5444 3409.