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Jess McNamara

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Ask the Advocate: Can I get food relief?

BSA Food relief is available for every student enrolled at the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University. BSA subscribes to Bendigo FoodShare, picks up the order each week, and packs boxes or bags for self-nominated students. Then we send students an email to let them know where and when to pick up their box from the Bendigo campus.

We don’t ask you to ‘prove’ your eligibility. That’s right. There are no application forms, no criteria. Zilch. Just send your advocate (that’s me!) an email and say, “I would like food relief”.

Your advocate will ask for basic info for our records, including:
• Your student ID
• The name of your course
• Year of your course
• If you are part time or full time
• If you are enrolled as an international or domestic student
• If you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
• If you have children or dependants living with you (because we get great things for kids like Easter eggs in our Food Relief orders!)

You only need to give this info if you’re comfortable doing so.
A final crucial question is:
• Do you have allergies or food preferences?

Right now, we are only able to provide ‘pantry’ items, such as breakfast cereals, canned fruit, canned vegetables, rice, pasta, and snacks (check out photos on our social media). When BSA is back on campus, we will reopen our Outpost and stock fresh fruit and vegetables again. Until then, please contact Bendigo Family & Financial Services (BFFS) if your need fresh produce. BSA has a partnership agreement with BFFS, and they may be able to provide you with fruit & Veg.
As part of our partnership, BFFS also provides Uni students with financial counselling. Yes, they can go through your budget with you, help you to make payment plans for bills, and advise you on no interest loans or payments available to you. BFFS is also able to refer you to other Bendigo community services, if they are better able to help you. For example, Loddon Campaspe Legal Community Service is also a partner with BSA and are available to provide you free legal advice. If you have a fine you need to pay, or have to go to Court, they can help.

Money, or the lack of it, can be really stressful. Not eating properly because you simply can’t afford to, makes life harder, because you will become malnourished, tired, and more stressed. This service is free for you. Just ask.

Important contact details:
BSA Advocacy Engagement Officer, Michelle Barton t. 0413 430 822 e.
Bendigo Family & Financial Services t. 5441 5277 website
Loddon Campaspe Legal Community Service t. 5445 0909 website