Sadly, 5.74 million meals a year is not enough
Over the past year, Foodbank WA has provided more than 5.74 million meals to Western Australians who were worried about where their next feed was coming from. These latest figures, released on World Food Day, are in the annual Foodbank Hunger Report, which contains a number of startling statistics.
“Over the past year, Foodbank WA has helped more than 94,000 West Australians every month, over 31,000 are children. This is a 44% increase on the number of people we were helping the previous year. We’re providing a staggering 479,000 meals a month on average, but sadly we need almost 160,000 more meals to meet the total demand. Not only are these figures frightening but demand for our services doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon. Currently, more than 13,000 people are being turned away from our charity partners because we don’t have enough food to be able to give them anything,” said Foodbank WA CEO, Greg Hebble.
“Almost half of the people struggling to feed themselves and their families are actually employed but under-employed. And while Generation Y and Z, aged between 17 to 37 years old, only make up only 28% of our population, when it comes to food insecurity, they are heavily over-represented at 38%.”
Now in its fifth year, the report surveys charities and people who use their services and found that it’s not just the unemployed and the homeless who are struggling to put food on the table.
“The report exposes how increasing numbers of people are falling into food insecurity simply because of the rising cost of life’s basics – like rent and power bills. Financial pressures create difficult choices, such as choosing between heating and eating. Forty-one per cent of people who have struggled to feed themselves or their families haven’t paid bills so that they could buy groceries.
“It’s hard to believe that we’re experiencing a hunger crisis in a state that has experienced such prosperity, but our report provides a dose of reality on just how prevalent food insecurity is in our own backyard. The fact that demand for food relief is increasing and our youth are particularly vulnerable, is simply not acceptable.”
“To help us to be able to help more West Australians in need, I’m asking government and business to help us fund our Key Staples Program. This will help us to ensure that we have a constant supply of the core products like baked beans, spaghetti, tinned tomatoes, canned fruit and vegetables, flour, pasta sauce, oats and canned soup, to help fight hunger across the state.”
To coincide with the launch of the latest Foodbank Hunger Report, West Australian celebrity chef Anna Gare has signed on to be Foodbank WA’s latest Ambassador. Keeping food and home close to her heart, the self-acclaimed ‘food-centric’ star will work with Foodbank WA to raise awareness about just how many West Australians are doing it tough.
“Foodbank and I have a lot in common, apart from our love and devotion to food, we are both passionate about feeding those in need and helping people realise the benefits of eating good food. It’s only natural to join our food forces to ensure no West Australian family goes hungry in their time of need,” Anna said.
“Combining Anna’s passion for food with our cause is a natural fit and we are really looking forward to working with her. By generating more awareness, we hope to raise enough food and funds, so that no West Australian is turned away empty handed in times of need,” added Mr Hebble.