Friday, July 26, 2024

Millions struggling to put food on the table

More than 2 million households in Australia have run out of food in the last year due to limited finances, sometimes skipping meals or going whole days without eating.

This has meant that 1.3 million children lived in severe food insecure households during that time.

The findings come from the Foodbank Hunger Report 2022, which reveals alarming details surrounding the food insecurity crisis the country is facing.

Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey has witnessed the rise in demand for food relief services over the past year, but even she was shocked by the troubling picture of today’s Australia exposed in the report.

“We know how important it is for people to have access to nutritious food, yet the rising costs of energy, fuel, groceries, rent and mortgages have put this fundamental need beyond the reach of more and more people with no respite in sight,” she says.

“These results should make everyone stop in their tracks.

Cost of living

Unsurprisingly, the rising cost of living is the most common reason why so many are struggling to meet their household food needs, with the cost of food and groceries confirmed as the top cause followed closely by energy and housing costs.

Assumptions that this is affecting only those who are unemployed or homeless are incorrect with the research showing that over half of food insecure households had someone in paid work and a third of households with mortgages have experienced food insecurity.

“The numbers being reported are massive and hard to process, but they represent the harsh reality of living week to week when the cost-of-living crisis collides with an income crisis and the household budget now lists food as a discretionary spend,” Ms Casey says.

Hope for change

The report signals that the problem is only set to get worse with half of all households experiencing difficulty saying that being unable to afford food is happening more often.

The food relief charity is hoping that next week’s Budget will deliver positive change.

“We have heard the Treasurer caution that the October budget is not the time for new spending measures to deliver relief to struggling families, but with more than a million people a month already seeking food relief, if not now, then when?”

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