Massive Shortfall for Victorian Food Relief Agencies - Report
21 August 2012 at 12:56 pm
Victorian food relief agencies are facing a massive shortfall – needing five million extra kilograms of food this year to feed Victorians in need, according to Foodbank Australia’s first ever hunger report.
Foodbank Australia’s first End Hunger report, which looks at food insecurity in Australia outlines the findings of a survey of the 2,500 welfare agencies who partner with Foodbank to provide food donations to individuals and families in need across the country.
Foodbank’s National End Hunger Report found that:
- The demand for food relief is rising, with over 65 per cent of agencies experiencing an increase in the number of individuals seeking food assistance.
- 85 per cent of food relief agencies reported not having enough food to meet current demand.
- In Victoria, there was an above national average of unemployed and individuals living with disabilities or mental illness requiring food assistance and support.
- Food parcels are preferred over pre-prepared meals by low income, unemployed and single parent households as these groups require basic ingredients to make meals rather than meals themselves.
Foodbank Victoria says it saves Victorians requiring assistance around $30 million in food costs per year. This figure amounts to 6,140,000 meals, but according to the organisation’s CEO, Ric Benjamin this is still not enough.
“The End Hunger Report highlights the reality that there is a silent crisis in our community. Approximately 400,000 Victorians could face the prospect of not being able to put a meal on the table this year. The 600 emergency relief agencies we support do not have enough food to meet current demand. They need 100,000 kilograms of extra food per week, and the report indicates that this figure is rising,” Benjamin said.
The Yarra Valley Campsite Collective agency provides support to 8000 homeless and disadvantaged youths per year. Dan Crozier, from the Collective says there’s never enough food coming through the agency to feed those in need.
“Food shortage is a major concern for the homeless and disadvantaged members of our community. We’re seeing a continued rise in demand that simply cannot be met – our food supplies are running out the door before lunch time each day,” Crozier said.
Foodbank is the largest hunger relief charity in Australia, sourcing and distributing food donations to 2,500 welfare agencies across the country. It has distribution centres in all state capitals, the Northern Territory and eight regional centres.
The Minister for Families, Community Services Jenny Macklin, and the Minister for Community Services, Julie Collins launched the report today saying it has highlighted the important role that governments, community organisations and business play in providing critical food relief to vulnerable Australians.
“The report shows a growing demand for food, particularly for staples such as milk, bread and fruits and vegetables,” Macklin said.
“Providing a hot meal or a food parcel is often the first step towards providing vulnerable people with extra services such financial counselling and family support programs,” she said.
Download a copy of the report here.