Hunger is a hidden crisis in Victoria and across Australia.
Each year, 3.6 million Australians – almost 15 per cent of the population – are ‘food insecure’, meaning they are unable to purchase food. Of these, less than half seek food relief from a charity or community group.
Despite Australia’s relative wealth as a nation, food insecurity affects people of all ages and backgrounds.
With many Australians living ‘pay cheque to pay cheque’, it doesn’t take much to tip a person into a situation where food becomes a luxury, not a necessity. An unexpected bill, a sudden health condition, a relationship breakdown, insecure housing, a change in income or employment status, a lack of support networks – the reality is, food insecurity is only one or two scenarios away for most.
The suffering is largely hidden by shame, but the reality is we’re all likely to know someone going without.
While some people might do it tough for a brief period, for others the situation might be longer term. In these cases, the consequences of food insecurity compound.
In health terms, being hungry is painful and distracting. Concentration suffers. Mood sours. The brain can’t function properly without food to fuel it. Often, people will turn to the cheapest sources of food they can find – energy-dense, but nutrient-poor. This puts an already disadvantaged group of people at higher risk of conditions such as diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke and cancers.
Hunger is ever-present in the cycle of disadvantage. Foodbank is fighting for a food secure future for all Victorians, where no person goes without the basic necessity of food.
To find out how you can support our work, visit our Get Involved page.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” – Article 25, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights