WHEN lockdowns suspended Daylesford's Good Grub Club usual meals service, volunteers across the community stepped up to find ways to keep feeding Hepburn Shire's most needy.
Uniting Church minister Jenny Hayes said one of the biggest cohorts to join in had been unemployed chefs from across Daylesford.
Reverend Hayes said many chose to lend a hand in meal preparation when their kitchens had shut as a way to keep practising their trade. She said the effects on their own mental health and well-being, from staying active and helping others, had been substantial - just as it had for the bands of people helping with meals, packing hampers or delivering them across the region.
This is community coming back out to solve community problemsReverend Jenny Hayes, Uniting Church
"Many keep saying clubs are suffering from a lack of volunteerism but this is community coming back out to solve community problems," Reverend Hayes said. "You can say this is an emergency situation but one hopes residents might consider how they can keep helping once this is over."
Before the pandemic, Daylesford's Good Grub Club offered sit-down breakfast and lunch meals twice a week for people who, Reverend Hayes said, "don't fit the mainstream Daylesford dining experience".
When the effects from coronavirus struck, the club found it was increasingly contacted by people looking for food.
The club delivers more than 145 boxes with prepared meals and staples, if they can source them, in fresh fruit and vegetables, bread, eggs and milk.
Reverend Hayes said the focus was on providing good quality food, like a hot soup and some sweets.
In delivering food to community members, Reverend Hayes said they had found people living in the scrubs and incredibly tough living conditions. There was a waiting list but also an honesty among receivers.
"Once people do go back to work they let us know they don't need a box anymore. Everyone has been playing fair," Reverend Hayes said. "This has been a massive undertaking and we don't believe we're anywhere near finished.
"Even if places start to open there will still be high unemployment and underemployment for a while. This has increased substantially during the pandemic."
This National Volunteer Week Good Grub Club also thanks volunteer groups which offer cash and donations to the program.
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