Feed Appeal plea for 50 cents amid spike in food relief requests

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A bitter winter of relentless Covid-19 challenges is driving an unprecedented number of charities to request food relief for their communities, according to FareShare CEO Marcus Godinho.

“More charities than ever before are approaching us for meals. It is the biggest individual spike we’ve ever experienced,” Mr Godinho said.

Acknowledging that worn-out Aussies have already given generously to many causes during the pandemic, bushfires and floods, he said the annual Feed Appeal fundraiser was nearly one million meals short of its three-million-meals target with only four days to go.

Just 50 cents at any Woolworths checkout until June 29 provides a nutritious meal to someone in need.

“A small donation by rounding up to the nearest dollar will help our most vulnerable, including the elderly, single parents, children and the isolated to access a nourishing meal,” Mr Godinho said.

“It’s a small gesture with a big impact. With Melbourne having just come out of lockdown and the growing cluster in Sydney, it shows how easily Australians’ livelihoods and freedoms can be affected, putting massive pressure on family budgets and sending businesses to the brink.”

Five million Australians are expected to experience food insecurity — i.e., not knowing where their next meal will come from — and its associated impacts on mental and physical health this year.

The Hunger Report 2020 states that nearly a third of Australians experiencing food insecurity in 2020 had never experienced it before Covid-19 and the proportion of food insecure Australians seeking food relief doubled between 2019 and 2020 from 15 per cent to 31 per cent.

Young Australians are suffering more than any other group, with 65 per cent of food insecure Gen Zs (aged 18-25) going hungry at least once a week.

Charities report that the demand for food relief has increased on average by 47 per cent.

Shocked by queues of people waiting for food relief at the height of the pandemic, health researcher Rebecca Winter said she donated to the Feed Appeal because of concerns about disadvantaged Australians continuing to struggle, including those unable to work, migrants, international students, low income earners, the socially isolated and indigenous Australians.

“Low welfare payments are very hard for anyone to live on and yet that’s what we expect – the impact on people and families is significant,” Ms Winter said.

“With JobKeeper payments ended, the Feed Appeal is needed more than ever. When people are struggling to make ends meet, food is often the first thing that is sacrificed.”

The mum of two donated via her local Woolworths this week and said the purchase roundup was a simple way to help.

“The pandemic has shown the fragile nature of the things we come to rely on in life including food, shelter and employment,” she said.

Woolworths community general manager Peter O’Sullivan said it was more important than ever to support people in need in communities across the country.

“Food insecurity is an incredibly real issue,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“We’re encouraging customers to make a donation to the Feed Appeal the next time they shop with us, by simply rounding up their purchase at the checkout. Just 50 cents means a meal can be placed in the hands of an Aussie in need.”

The annual Feed Appeal partnership between FareShare and News Corp Australia raises funds for grants to community charities feeding people in need while supporting FareShare’s free, nutritious meal supply to charities on the frontline of food insecurity across Australia. To donate, visit feedappeal.org.au or round up your purchase at your local Woolworths store until June 29.

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