The incidence of food insecurity in Australia is reaching crisis level with a new Foodbank survey revealing that 1 in 6 Australians report not having enough food at least once in the last 12 months.
Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation, just released its annual Foodbank Hunger Report which states that, of those saying they’ve been hungry, 28% are regularly going without food.
Launching the report, Foodbank Australia CEO Geoff Starr said around half of those experiencing food insecurity are seeking assistance from charities and community groups leading to over 644,000 Australians receiving food relief each month.
Those affected are not just people living rough on the streets. The report highlights that the face of hunger is diverse – male, female, young and old, single and in families, students, both employed and unemployed as well as retired people.
“Our report brings to light the fact that charities cannot cope with the increasing numbers of people in distress. Over 43,000 people seeking food relief each month have to be turned away empty handed due to lack of food and resources,” Starr says.
“It’s not taking much to tip some people into food insecurity. The most common reasons why people experience hunger are generally low income, unexpected expenses and large bills or just paying for the roof over their heads.” The report explores the impact of food relief on people’s lives and finds that it’s both immediate and far reaching.
In addition to having their hunger addressed, people report longer term benefits such as improved physical health, being able to plan for the future and feeling able to look for work or get a job. Commenting on the report findings, Starr says “In Australia we subscribe to the belief of a fair go for all and, at Foodbank, we think that means everyone having enough to eat. It’s time to put the growing hunger problem on the national agenda. We’re calling on all Australians to join us and commit to the fight against hunger.”
The public can find out more information about the Foodbank Hunger Report and add their commitment to fighting hunger in Australia by going to www.foodbank.org.au.