Shepparton News

Shepp rallies for its own

GV CARES PROVIDES ESSENTIAL FOOD, MEDICINES AND SERVICES TO THOUSANDS STUCK IN QUARANTINE

- By Alex Mitchell Those who need help or a chat can email gvares@gslp.com.au while potential volunteers can email bsenini@gslp.com.au

Help is on the way for Greater Shepparton residents experienci­ng hardship through a tough quarantine period as some of the community’s most caring people come together to support their own.

Whether it’s providing food, essentials such as medicines and nappies, or necessary services while trapped indoors, GV Cares will do what it can to guide vulnerable people through their time of need.

Launched on Monday, the GV Cares Facebook page has quickly gathered almost 1000 likes, and sees a number of community organisati­on staples including Greater Shepparton Lighthouse, Shepparton FoodShare, the Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District and the Committee for Greater Shepparton band together as thousands face no choice but to quarantine.

Project co-ordinator and Lighthouse executive officer Lisa McKenzie summed the effort up perfectly: ‘‘Shepp people helping Shepp people’’.

Ms McKenzie said an evergrowin­g team of doublevacc­inated volunteers would deliver food and essential goods and services wherever possible.

‘‘There certainly is an opportunit­y to call the Victorian Government hotline, but I understand demand is very high there, so the local community has rallied to address the local need,’’ she said.

‘‘The need is very high — thousands and thousands of people are quarantini­ng, people don’t have access to their traditiona­l networks, they’re also in quarantine.

‘‘People who haven’t been vulnerable before are now vulnerable for the first time. I want to say to people, there’s no shame in this if you need a hand, because everyone is vulnerable at the moment.

‘‘People for the first time in their lives might need to reach out for a hand — please do.’’

GV Cares will distribute FoodShare supplies but will also contribute fresh food such as bread, milk, fruit and vegetables purchased from local businesses, meaning more than $20,000 in donations gathered in a single day will be put to good use.

Ms McKenzie said risk minimisati­on was fundamenta­l; deliveries would be contactles­s, while volunteers must be double-vaccinated, be generally fit and healthy, not have a COVID-19 test pending and not be in quarantine. She said the immediate buy-in from those around town again displayed the heart with which it operates. ‘‘As the Premier has pointed out this week, we live in an extraordin­ary community, it’s well known and well recognised — this is Shepp people looking after Shepp people,’’ she said.

‘‘Whatever it looks like, come to us with your problem and we’ll try and problem-solve it.

‘‘The bottom line is don’t be afraid to reach out, we’ve got this huge number of volunteers now, including a whole lot of people at home who are highly skilled.’’

Shepparton FoodShare chair Jeremy Rensford said his organisati­on was thrilled to pitch in as thousands around town do it tough.

‘‘We’ve got such a great community here in Greater Shepparton, FoodShare has been such a good community organisati­on for almost 10 years, and any time we can help we don’t hesitate,’’ he said.

‘‘Thankfully we’ve got great supplies of food at the moment, so we’re ready to get that out as soon as we can. We’re so grateful to Lighthouse and the wider community helping with all the logistics and getting everyone with the resources they have.

‘‘We’re ready, willing and able to help where needed.’’

 ?? Picture: Megan Fisher ?? Ready to help: Shepparton FoodShare chair Jeremy Rensford and Lighthouse executive officer Lisa McKenzie are two key figures involved in the GV Cares project.
Picture: Megan Fisher Ready to help: Shepparton FoodShare chair Jeremy Rensford and Lighthouse executive officer Lisa McKenzie are two key figures involved in the GV Cares project.

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