Bisinella provides support for Geelong Food Relief, assisting local families impacted by COVID-19

Published: 14/05/2020

Bisinella Developments’ Managing Director Lino Bisinella has contributed $10,000 to the Geelong Food Relief Centre (GFRC).

The organisation is hoping to raise $200,000 to support the Geelong region through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The GFRC has been providing emergency food relief for the Geelong community since 1990.

Mr Bisinella provided the donation to the GFRC after Lara MP John Eren and City of Greater Geelong Councillor Pat Murnane made him aware of the increasing demand for the service.

GFRC provides food assistance to clients who are suffering from food insecurity.

“In 2019/20 the organisation will provide emergency food relief to around 38,000 individuals in need throughout our region, while forwarding on around 700,000kg of bulk distributed food to our partnering agencies.” GFRC CEO Collin Peebles said.

Mr Peebles said demand for emergency food relief had increased significantly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the first couple of weeks we witnessed a 200 per cent increase in demand for emergency food relief. This was around the time panic buying started to set in as the COVID19 emergency unfolded.”

“Moving forward demand has stabilized however GFRC anticipates a significant increase in demand towards the later part of 2020 as Federal Government funding (ie Job Seeker) retracts and unemployment grows due to COVID19.”

To date, GFRC has received around $50,000 in financial funding which currently allows for the purchase of emergency food. However, $48,000 of these funds have already been exhausted on food purchases.

GFRC usually works under a food voucher arrangement with clients referred to the orqanisation by agencies through a food voucher system.

Pre-COVID-19 vouchers could be redeemed at GFRC mini-marts in Geelong.  It also has a bulk distribution service to meet the needs of agencies operating community pantries in the Greater Geelong region, Bellarine, Surf Coast and Winchelsea areas.

However, in order to protect their volunteers and clients GFRC was forced to suspend its minimart operations on 3 April.

By Monday, 6 April, with their minimarts closed, GFRC increased its emergency bulk distribution by financing food for around 30 micro food banks throughout the Geelong region who have been financially impacted by COVID19.

Mr Peebles thanked the Bisinella family for their donation and said the support of the community and businesses at the moment was “critical”.

 “Like most businesses we too as a charity have lost our revenue stream as a result of COVID19. Without the financial support from corporate and private business we would not be in a position to finance volume food purchases for those in need.”

Mr Peebles forecasts there will be a significant need for emergency food towards the end of 2020, as the true financial impact of this unfolding crisis is realised.

Donations to Geelong Food Relief Centre’s COVID19 Emergency Fund will be gratefully received and can be made via Bendigo Bank, please contact Geelong Food Relief for more information.