THE hunger relief organisation Foodbank has released the 2020 Hunger Report signalling the worst is yet to come and key findings are completely reflective of the Coffs Coast’s experience.
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One of the report’s key findings is that overall demand for food relief from charities to the end of September was up by an average of 47% from pre COVID-19.
Ms Fiona Nearn of food relief and rescue organisation OzHarvest is not surprised at all.
“In the Coffs Harbour area nearly 200,000 meals have been delivered since Covid hit (March 2020),” she said.
Ms Nearn told News of The Area “The impact of COVID has seen a new cohort of people in need who had not gone hungry before the pandemic, casual workers and international students are the biggest groups turning to food relief for the first time.”
The Foodbank report revealed 3 in 10 Australians (28%) of those experiencing food insecurity had never faced it before the pandemic.
Casual workers and international students were identified in the report as particularly experiencing food insecurity like never before.
“Food insecurity is not a problem that is going away anytime soon,” said Ms Nearn.
“We need the government to consider new policies and support packages to support the most vulnerable in our community.”
OzHarvest provides food to charities such as Pete’s Place in Coffs Harbour which supports people going through homelessness.
Anna Scott, Pete’s Place Manager, said in May they received 645 requests for food provision.
“Since the start of Covid-19 we have seen an increase and more of a diverse range of people such as families worried about not meeting the nutritional needs of family members,” she said.
She agreed with Ms Nearn that the findings of the annual report are indicative of our local experience.
For people who are facing food insecurity right now and need a hand, please call Foodbank NSW & ACT on 02 9756 3099 to connect with a Foodbank NSW & ACT charity partner nearest you.
By Sandra MOON