Charities Call on Aussies to Join Fight Against Hunger as 1 in 6 Go Hungry Each Year
3 June 2016 at 10:52 am
Australia’s largest food relief organisation is calling on people to join the fight against hunger as a new report has revealed one in every six Australians goes hungry each year as a result of insufficient access to affordable and nutritious food.
The Foodbank Hunger Report, released on Wednesday, explores the impact of food relief on people’s lives and provides an annual snapshot of the growing hunger crisis facing everyday Australians.
According to the findings, more than 644,000 Australians received food relief each month, 33 per cent of whom were children.
A further 43,000 were unsuccessful in their bid for help due to demand for food relief outpacing supply.
Foodbank Australia CEO Geoff Starr, who attributed the rise in hunger to the rising cost of living, said the report went to show that the face of hunger was diverse.
“Those who seek food relief are not just people living rough on the streets,” Starr said.
“The charities we supply food to are assisting both employed and unemployed, children, retired people, students, singles and families.
“Some of the common reasons people find themselves seeking food relief is a lack of funds to pay utility bills, rent and accommodation.
“For many working families, adequate and nutritious food has become a luxury as opposed to a necessity.”
In 2015, there was an 8 per cent increase in the number of people seeking food relief.
The report, by Foodbank Australia with the assistance of Deloitte Access Economics, also revealed that of those who had insufficient access to vital food, 28 per cent said it was a regular occurrence.
Deloitte Access Economics lead partner, health economics and social policy, Lynne Pezzulo, said in spite of steady increase in household wealth over the last 20 years, disadvantaged Australians still faced significant challenges with respect to affording basics such as food.
“Regardless of the growth and performance of our economy, food insecurity is an issue for a significant number of Australians,” Pezzullo says.
Foodbank, whose mission is to deliver the most food to the most Australians in need in the most efficient way, is now seeking “urgent assistance” to fight hunger as the country heads into winter.
Starr said charities cannot cope with the demand for help and are turning people away empty handed.
“It is the overall commitment of Foodbank Australia that everyone has access at all times to nutritious and healthy foods,” he said.
“Whilst Foodbank provides food for 166,000 meals a day to over 2,400 charities for distribution to people in need, it’s simply not enough.
“We are urging all Australians to join us on the fight against hunger.”