In less than a fortnight, more than 200 Central Victorians have put up their hand to volunteer with Bendigo Foodshare after the organisation launched an urgent recruitment drive to cope with increased demand for emergency food relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bendigo Foodshare has been identified as an essential service and is continuing to supply groceries and fresh produce to local charities and community organisation, which are considered essential services in relation to food relief, to distribute to their communities during this time.

Bendigo Foodshare Manager, Bridget Bentley, said her team were heartened by the community’s generosity in what was sure to be a challenge time for many people.

“The response to our call for new, healthy volunteers has been awe-inspiring,” said Ms Bentley.

“Our phones have been ringing steadily and our inbox flooded with volunteer registrations and offers of support from every sector of the community.

“We’ve reached our goal of 200 volunteer applications and filled our available positions, which is an amazing achievement the community should be very proud of.

“We’re now working through the registrations, matching applicants to roles and inducting them into our organisation as we prepare to ramp up our operations. This may take time, and we ask people who’ve signed up to be patient – we will be in touch as soon as possible.”

While Bendigo Foodshare has enough general volunteer applications for now, it may need to recruit further as circumstances evolve.

Anyone who didn’t register to volunteer but still wants to support Bendigo Foodshare can show their support by giving food or in-kind services or making a donation online.