Hello, we hope you have had a good start to the New Year. Thank you for your vital support. We couldn’t do what we do without you.
‘Cost of Surviving’
Although parts of the COVID-19 pandemic are behind us, we currently exist in a perfect storm of a cost-of-living crisis, an income crisis and natural disasters of growing frequency and intensity. This is impacting not only demand for food relief across Australia, but also our supply. Like the price increases consumers are facing across food and groceries, energy and housing, it is also costing Foodbank significantly more to source, store and transport essential food relief at a time when demand has never been higher.
The 2022 Foodbank Hunger Report and our recent RepTrak dataset show the level of concern that the financial situation is causing. The graph above highlights that personal financial security and the risk of recession are now the top two concerns of Australians, growing steeply over the last year.
That concern is reflected in our food distribution model with ‘kilograms being issued’ statistics at record levels around the country.
On the 1st February Foodbank Australia’s CEO Brianna Casey gave evidence at the Australian Senate Select Committee on Cost of Living. Below is an excerpt from her opening statement:
“The numbers I want to share with you aren’t the ones that appear in the monthly ABS updates or portfolio budget statements. Apologies to the economists in the room, but they’re far more important than that. They’re numbers that keep me up at night and they matter.
» 1.3 million: that’s the number of children living in severely food insecure households – compromising on their nutrition, skipping meals or even going all day without eating
» 64: that’s the percentage of households citing increased or high cost of living as a reason why they couldn’t meet their household food needs, with increased food and grocery costs, increased energy costs, increased housing costs and unexpected large expenses as the major contributors to their struggles
» 54: that’s the percentage of food insecure households in Australia with someone in paid work. A job – or even multiple jobs – is not a shield against the cost-of-living crisis.
» 500,000: that’s the number of households who will struggle to put a meal on the table tonight. These are households in my community. In your community. In a growing number of communities.
We need solutions that are going to deal with the immediate crisis, like ensuring food relief is available to those struggling to put a meal on the table today. We need clever policy solutions that will deliver increased food and stimulate regional economies, like a national food donation tax incentive.
We need to do better by those in our community who are hurting.”
Thank you for again for supporting Foodbank’s efforts to help struggling Australians. Your support will go towards our Key Staples Program to ensure that we always have key items like milk, cereal, eggs, canned vegetables and pasta in stock at our warehouses. By proactively purchasing these products at the lowest possible cost, we can provide nutritious and convenient food for people for as long as they need it.
Thank you for supporting Foodbank Australia. We could not continue to feed Australians in need every day without your support!
The Foodbank Hunger Report 2022 was released earlier this month. Now in it’s 11th year, the Foodbank Hunger Report provides the most up to date data and observations on household hunger in Australia – where it’s happening, why it’s happening and who it’s happening to.
The report paints a confronting picture of the hunger crisis facing our country. On any given day, over half a million households in Australia are struggling to meet their food needs. They may be compromising on the quality and variety of their food, eating less often or even going entire days without eating. More than 2 million households in Australia (21%) went hungry in the last 12 months, which means they actually ran out of food because of financial limitations. Heartbreakingly, 1.3 million children lived in severely food insecure households in the last year. In addition to this, households with children are 1.5 times more likely to be struggling to put food on the table, with single parent households being the hardest hit of all.
We have found that it is getting more difficult for Australians to afford adequate and nutritious food this year compared to last, and the rising cost of living is the most common reason why. Unpacking this, the cost of food and groceries is the top cause, followed closely by energy costs, housing costs and natural disasters. There are people being affected in every neighbourhood, city and country alike, and over half of food insecure households had someone in paid work. In fact, nearly a third of households with mortgages have experienced food insecurity in the last year, which shows that it's not just people on the street who are going hungry, but people in our street.
Foodbank continues to provide food relief to over 1 million Australians a month and will continue to do so for as long as people need help. Unfortunately, shame and embarrassment is the single biggest reason stopping people from reaching out for help, so we still have plenty more to do. To view the interactive report, visit the link below.
Thank you once again for helping Foodbank to support Austrailan households doing it tough.
Thank you for supporting Foodbank. Your donations of $14,146 have enabled us to provide 28,292 meals to those in need across Australia.
As we know, COVID-19 has continued to affect our day-to-day lives in terms of our health, but it has also highlighted existing issues of poverty and inequality within Australia. Despite being more than two years into the pandemic, Foodbank are still seeing the continuing impacts on job security and financial stability, and we are not going back to our pre-COVID-19 levels of food insecurity.
Alarmingly, hunger in Australia is on the rise and the average monthly demand for food relief is up 50% on 2019 levels, due to a combination of more people seeking food relief and people seeking it more often. Foodbank is reporting heightened demand for food relief across the country, particularly in regional areas. Some of our charity partners are reporting increases of 60%-100% in individual and family presentations and 1 in 3 people seeking food relief are new to the situation. The face of hunger is diverse - those affected are men and women, children and the elderly. They are single and in families, students, employed, unemployed and retired. At particular risk are people with disabilities, refugees and those of Aboriginal and Islander descent.
Foodbank is now providing relief to more than 1 million Australians per month through a network of 2,950 front-line charities, and also supporting 2,890 schools by providing food for School Breakfast Programs. In 2021, we sourced 48.1 million kilograms of food and groceries, which equates to 86.7 million meals, or 238,000 meals a day.
To ensure our warehouses always have key staple products in stock, Foodbank collaborates with our invaluable food and grocery partners to manufacture Key Staple Products like milk, cereal, eggs, tinned vegetables, pasta, pasta sauce and meat that do not come in sufficient quantities via traditional food rescue channels. By proactively purchasing these items at the lowest cost possible, Foodbank can provide nutritious and convenient food for as long as people need it.
The continuing effects of COVID-19, combined with cost-of-living pressures such as increased food price inflation, rising electricity, fuel and gas prices, housing unaffordability and unavailability means we are bracing for even higher levels of demand. Thanks to your generous support, we can continue feeding Australians in need every day.
Australia has a hunger problem, but we have a solution.
Our country produces enough food for 75 million people per year, enough to feed our entire population three times over, yet we have a significant hunger problem.
The Foodbank Hunger Report 2021 released in October revealed one in six adults and 1.2 million children in Australia went hungry last year. How can this be?
Food Insecurity and COVID 19
The hunger problem in our country isn’t new. Foodbank has been tracking food insecurity in Australia since 2012 and whilst the root causes vary, what has been a constant throughout is the diversity of people touched by this issue. Food relief is not only being sought out by those who are homeless and unemployed, but also working families, refugees, single parents, school leavers, First Nations People and many more.
Covid-19 has helped shine a spotlight on the prevalence of food insecurity in Australia, and just how quickly job security, housing security and financial security can be eroded. Most of us know someone who has lost their job, had their hours dramatically reduced, or found themselves in financial difficulty in the last two years. In fact, one in three people struggling to meet their food needs are new to the situation. These people will look back on this period as the toughest time they’ve ever faced, and remember what it was like to be forced to make a decision between buying food or paying the electricity bill, because they couldn’t afford to do both.
For others, the pandemic served only to highlight the harsh realities of poverty and inequality in Australia. We know that those struggling before the pandemic have been hit the hardest and will find it the hardest to recover. We know that government assistance measures like the Coronavirus Supplement and COVID disaster payments made a material difference to the lives of vulnerable Australians. We also know that dramatically increasing support for Emergency Relief and Food Relief providers made a huge difference, allowing us to redouble our efforts to support vulnerable people right across Australia, from international students to the recently unemployed to single parent families and everyone in between.
The pandemic has been the great leveler. In some ways it has reduced the shame and stigma of asking for help whether it be for food relief, mental health or physical health. We are seeing a paradigm shift from shame, embarrassment and guilt, to compassion, empathy and ultimately hope.
The great ‘pivot’
Not only has COVID-19 affected demand for food relief, but also the way in which food relief and emergency relief providers respond to people in crisis. To borrow one of the most over-used words in the pandemic, Foodbanks right across the country had to pivot from existing models of distributing food relief via a network of thousands of frontline agencies and a small number of client-facing Foodbank hubs, to mobile foodbanks, pop-up markets and a strong reliance on emergency relief hampers. Pop up stores organised by Foodbank Victoria and funded by the Victorian government provided free fresh fruit and vegetables, and culturally appropriate staple products for the many international students trying to make ends meet without casual employment. Foodbank NSW & ACT worked with the NSW Government to provide hampers to international students on university campuses across the state and to ensure those in hard lockdowns had access to hampers
to sustain their families through extended isolation. Foodbank South Australia introduced home-delivery, made an even more positive experience when those deliveries were conducted by the likes of Port Adelaide Football Club players!
Supply vs demand
Foodbank is now providing relief to more than 1 million people per month through a network of 2,950 front-line charities, with Foodbanks across the country also supporting 2,890 schools through highly successful initiatives such as School Breakfast Programs.
In 2021, we sourced 48.1 million kilograms of food and groceries, equating to 241,000 meals per day. This is a staggering volume of food relief given the supply chain constraints experienced at various points throughout the pandemic, especially given the periods of highest demand for food relief often coincided with periods of reduced supply, whether a result of panic-buying or workforce shortages or natural disasters. We would not have been able to maintain our supply in the face of adversity without enduring partnerships and the strong support of those who trust us to do what we do best.
Foodbank works with the entire Australian food and grocery industry - farmers, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers, plus our invaluable transport and logistics providers, to source fresh and manufactured foods as well as personal and household care items for those in need. Donations can include stock that doesn’t meet industry specifications, is close to expiry or surplus, and we also see many companies make proactive donations as a key plank of their corporate social responsibility commitments. The food and grocery industry may specialise in supply chains, but we specialise in surprise chains. No two days are alike when it comes to the quantity or variety of supply, but every product is appreciated.
Supply Chain Resilience
Whilst we pride ourselves in our planning, preparedness, partnerships and resilience, we are as vulnerable as anyone else when it comes to the fragility of our supply chains in Australia. Supply chain disruption doesn't only affect commercial supply; it affects Foodbank too. We have seen just how disastrous the knock-on effects of natural disasters can be on our supply chains. The recent South Australian floods saw both road and rail access from SA into the Northern Territory and Western Australia completely severed. This had a devastating impact on our ability to get fresh produce and key staples from Foodbank SA to the Foodbank Central Australia Hub in Alice Springs. We worked closely with state, territory and federal governments – as well as industry – on solutions to ensure vital food could be delivered to remote communities across Central Australia. As always, we worked hard to ensure vulnerable communities were not forgotten during this crisis, just as we do in every crisis.
We are so proud of the role we play in helping vulnerable Australians, and so grateful for the invaluable support we receive to enable us to do this. Our experience with natural disasters tells us it will be a long road to recovery, but we must not forget the new perspective we have gained through this pandemic. The circumstances that put people into food insecurity before the virus will still be with us and food relief will remain a critically important part of the solution.
Without your kind support we would simply not be able to make critical food supply available to people in need. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Together, we'll make sure no-one gets left behind.
Thank you so much for your support of Foodbank. Here is a quick update on the Foodbank Hunger Report 2021.
Foodbank has now released its annual Hunger Report. It provides a snapshot of the prevalence and depth of hunger in Australia as well as insights into the day-to-day experience of people in our community who are doing it tough.
Alarmingly, the report shows that one in six Australian adults haven’t had enough to eat in the last year and, even more shockingly, 1.2 million children have gone hungry. Additionally, more than half of people impacted by severe food insecurity go a whole day every week without eating. Foodbank is now providing food relief to more than a million people each month.
The report, now in its 10th year, highlights that the pandemic continues to deliver challenges that are exacerbating pre-existing challenges in our communities. In addition to those who were already struggling before COVID-19, the pandemic has caused others to experience vulnerability for the first time. In fact, more than one in three of last year’s food insecure Australians (38%) had never been in that position before.
Moreover, the report highlights that food insecurity is not restricted to the ‘obvious’ vulnerability groups such as homeless people and the unemployed. It shows people of every age, living alone, in families and in groups are susceptible. Food insecurity is shown to affect people in cities right through to those in remote areas and surprisingly, hunger affects more people in some form of employment (64%) than those who have none.
Despite our best efforts, there are many Australians who still do not have access to the food relief they require.
If you would like to find out more and read Foodbank’s Hunger Report 2021, please click this link. https://reports.foodbank.org.au/?state=au
Once again, on behalf of the Foodbank family, thank you so much for supporting those who are experiencing hunger.
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