Geelong Cats hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are getting into the footy spirit a little early in Norlane.
Bisinella Developments has provided 60 footy merchandise packs for households in the northern suburbs, ahead of the season opening round on June 12.
The packs include a Cats scarf and a beanie/cap.
The Geelong Cats footy packs were delivered on Monday night to dozens of Norlane residents, including young families, who are experiencing disadvantage. Many of these residents have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The households received the footy pack along with a hot, home-cooked meal delivered by local community organisation Norlane Community Initiatives (NCI) and supported by local business leaders.
NCI’s Monday Norlane Neighbourhood Meal (at Home) program initially supported 30 households. However, this has now been increased to 43 households (123 people, including 38 children), due to demand.
As reported last month, Geelong business leaders including Lino and Richard Bisinella from Bisinella, Frank Costa and Barry and Keith Fagg are providing essential funds so the Monday Norlane Neighbourhood Meal (at Home) program can continue for the rest of the year.
Richard Bisinella said the idea for the footy pack was inspired by reports Italian soccer team AS Roma had delivered care packages to its elderly fans in Rome during coronavirus lockdown.
Norlane Community Initiatives joint-CEO Simon Reeves said the Cats’ merchandise pack was “another great indication to people doing it tough in our community that they are not alone during this difficult time.
“This is a wonderful sign of hope and encouragement,” he said.
“Our community members were delighted to receive them and responded with some huge smiles and loads of thanks. As you can see Monday night was particularly cold and wet and the beanies and scarfs went straight on.”
The Monday Norlane Neighbourhood Meal (at Home) home delivery program started in early March after Norlane Community Initiatives’ community centre was forced to shut its doors due to COVID-19 restrictions.
About 60 Norlane residents used to come together at the community centre each Monday to shop, cook, prepare and then eat a meal together.
Not to be deterred, Simon and Kaylene Reeves, with the support of Richard Bisinella, explored ways to continue the weekly service in a different format.
Dozens of northern suburbs’ households experiencing disadvantaged are now receiving a hot-home cooked meal delivered to their homes every Monday. They also receive along with a pantry pack of essential daily items made up from food from Geelong Food Relief and Foodbank Victoria.
For more information about Norlane Community Initiatives and the Monday Norlane Neighbourhood Meal (at Home), visit www.norlaneci.org.au