In a year that Australia has been recognised as one of the most prosperous countries in the world, it is disappointing that an increasing number of people are reaching out to organisations like Foodbank Victoria to feed themselves and their families. 1 in 6 Australians are currently experiencing food insecurity while 1 in 10 Victorians don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Of more concern is the shift in the issues faced by those needing food relief. Historically, it has been those impacted by unemployment, homelessness and those living with mental health issues. As things stand today, the three most common groups requiring assistance are low income families, single parent families and those experiencing unemployment.
The fact that so many Victorians are in need of support can come as a surprise to many. This is further hindered by a lack of understanding around the need to rely on food assistance. All too often, blame is laid with the very people we are trying to help.
In the past year, crisis in Victoria has not been a result of mass scale drought, fire or flood – the immediate crisis is that over 6,600 people requiring food assistance are being turned away empty handed from community services.
As illustrated in the Foodbank Hunger Report 2016 (national key findings below), the demand for assistance is simply too high and what is even more disturbing is that nationally 35% of these requests are for children. As a Victorian society we simply cannot allow this situation to continue.