Diversitat has received a donation of $500 in food vouchers from Bellarine for Refugees for its Emergency Relief Program, allowing the program to continue in a limited capacity.
The federal government cut funding to the program at the end of 2019.
Diversitat Intake and Emergency Relief Coordinator Peta Chapotet said the vouchers were greatly appreciated with Diveristat working to keep the program running in a reduced capacity.
“We had been receiving three yearly funding for close to 20 years to provide an emergency relief service to compliment the programs that we already run at the agency,” she said.
“The federal government cut our funding at the end of 2019, now we have no money to pay for the food that we need other than from generous donations such as this.”
Ms Chapotet said the service used to run across multiple days each week providing clients with advocacy, food and gift cards.
“Now we can only hold client appointments for part of one day a week and what we can provide is extremely limited.”
“We have decided to continue this skeleton emergency relief program as best we can through the donations that we receive.”
“We’re really dependent on the community to support us because state and federal government have been unable to commit to any type of funding for our program.”
“We don’t know how much longer we’ll be able to keep the program running without further donations,” she said.
“We were very fortunate to be presented with vouchers for the Geelong Food Relief Centre from Bellarine for Refugees – they have donated previously to assist us to continue to deliver our emergency relief program and we thank them for their support.”
Bellarine for Refugees Co-Deputy Convenor Hilary Lovibond said the emergency relief program was vital for CALD communities in the Geelong region.
“We’re aware that Diversitat has had difficulty recently with funding cuts, and the Diversitat Emergency Relief Program is an absolutely critical source of food and basic supply relief for new arrivals in the Geelong community.”
“That has been cut to almost non-existent, so we’ve been able to obtain some vouchers from the Geelong Food Relief Centre through the generosity of our members and other groups that we work with,” Ms Lovibond said.
“The Diversitat Emergency Relief Program provides resources for people who unfortunately the government has completely failed.”
“People who we have welcomed into the community and yet we are not one way or another able to provide for them or able to assist them to provide for themselves.”
Donations to Diversitat can be made at diversitat.org.au.