Foodbank’s 2013 End Hunger Report: Victoria in focus

This is a writing sample from Scripted writer Sarah Alexander

Demand for food relief continues to outpace supply around Australia, with more than 11,000 Victorians turned away from emergency food relief providers each month due to insufficient food, according to Foodbank Victoria's annual End Hunger Report, released today. The report found family economic circumstances have become the main driver for people turning to food relief, with low income and single parent families the largest groups requiring assistance. Currently, more than 68% of community groups provide assistance to low income families or single parent families. The End Hunger Report, is based on analysis by Deloitte Access Economics and reveals insights into the rising issue of food insecurity in Victoria. The report surveys community groups from across the state and revealed that demand for food relief is growing and changing, challenging traditional stereotypes: - More welfare agencies are providing food to low income families (74%) and single parent families (69%) than unemployed households (68%), and homeless people (35%). - General low income and unexpected circumstances or events are the most common reason for those who seek out food relief. - 83% of welfare agencies report not having enough food to meet total demand. - 67% of people who rely on food relief do not receive all they require. - 37% of people seeking food welfare are children. - Over two thirds of charities are experiencing increased demand for food assistance. - 83% of charities believe that food helps staff to build trust to offer other services such as housing or education. Our CEO, Dave McNamara, believes the report highlights the shift in the situations faced by individuals requiring food relief assistance. "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." "Unfortunately, the most disadvantaged in our community are not only experiencing financial hardship. A sad reality of the matter is that the majority of those we assist also have the highest prevalence of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in the community. This is a problem, that as a society, we can no longer afford to ignore." The End Hunger Report has also revealed food parcels are the most common type of food assistance required, making up more than 75% of food welfare. This directly correlates to the increase in low income or single parent families relying on food welfare, as these groups require access to staple ingredients to prepare meals. The most common types of food needed are cereals, fruit and vegetables, bread, meat, milk and rice. Demand for staples and 'long life' food is significantly higher than any other food type.

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Sarah Alexander
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