Epping-based Sikh Community Connections has delivered hundreds of meals and grocery packages to City of Whittlesea residents during the lockdown. Pictured are volunteers, from left, Baljinder Deo, Rummy Saini, Gurinder Kaur, Ritu Kukreja, Richie Kaur and Raj Pahwa.

Two City of Whittlesea-based not-for-profit organisations providing support to people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds during the pandemic have been awarded State Government grants.

On Friday Member for Mill Park Lily D’Ambrosio announced $20,000 funding for Sikh Community Connections and Whittlesea Malaylee Association to deliver immediate food relief services to local communities.

Sikh Community Connections in Epping delivers groceries and cooked meals across the municipality.

The group has been especially busy in the past month as residents grapple with the effects of a sixth lockdown.

“It’s overwhelming to come across so many international students, single parents and those who have lost their jobs in this pandemic and unable to get other government support,” the group’s Facebook post read.

The Whittlesea Malayalee Association, founded in 2009, represents the many Whittlesea residents who hail from the south Indian state of Kerala.

It hosts numerous cultural arts and sports activities, as well as helping members of the community connect and bond. The grant money will go towards food relief.

Funded through the Priority Response to Multicultural Communities During Coronavirus program, they are two of 99 organisations sharing in more than $1.4 million to continue important work including providing food hampers, freshly cooked meals, groceries and essential items to community members in need.

“We are supporting Sikh Community Connections and the Whittlesea Malaylee Association to continue their important work – because no one in the Mill Park Electorate should go hungry,” Ms D’Ambrosio said.

“Our local community organisations do such an important job feeding people and keeping them connected, and we’re ensuring they can continue serving the communities they know so well when that help is needed most.”

Applications to the grant program are assessed based on identified need within the community or cohort, the organisation’s track record of delivering support, and the organisation’s capacity to deliver support immediately.

Close to $23 million has already been invested through the program since it began in August 2020, enabling support to more than 500,000 Victorians.

Since the start of the pandemic, the government has funded more than 320 community organisations through the program to provide emergency relief, food support and community outreach, as well as targeted communication through in-language materials and community-led content.

Thirty seven other grassroots organisations offering support specifically within the City of Whittlesea also received funding, along with several statewide organisations.

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