Food insecurity remains a constant struggle in many families around the globe. According to figures from the UN Sustainable Development Goals, 3.1 million children die before their 5th birthday because of poor nutrition while another 66 million primary school kids attend classes hungry.
While most of the world’s hungry live in developing countries, food insecurity is by no means a problem of poor nations alone. Fact: 1 in 6 Australians hasn’t had enough food to eat at least once in the last 12 months. Fact: Over 644,000 Australians ─ one-third of them children ─ receive food relief each month. Fact: Charities can no longer cope with the growing number of people seeking help and have to turn away 28,400 adults and 14,600 children every month. The source of these disturbing numbers is the Foodbank Hunger Report 2016, an annual snapshot of food insecurity in Australia.
Food insecurity --- along with poverty, financial stress, deprivation, and housing stress --- is a key indicator of hardship. In Australia, people seek food relief for a number of reasons: large bills, cost of living, lower income growth and government policy changes.
Solving such a massive and complex problem sounds like a daunting task. There are small steps, however, that you can make now to tackle this issue:
GET INVOLVED IN ANTI-POVERTY WEEK. The Anti-Poverty Week on 15-21 October 2017 is an extension of the UN's annual International Anti-Poverty Day on 17 October. This is a time when Australians are urged to participate in activities that highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship locally and overseas. Discover what activities you can attend or organise.
DONATE FOOD, FUNDS OR SERVICES TO THE FOODBANK. Did you know that in 38% of cases where charities have had to turn away Australians seeking food relief, the reason was that there weren’t enough people to assist? Volunteers can pick and pack food orders, provide admin support, and perform light warehouse duties. Find out more about becoming a Foodbank volunteer.
SUPPORT THE FoodREDi FOOD EDUCATION PROGRAMS OF THE AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS. FoodREDi seeks to address food insecurity though free training sessions to vulnerable groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants and refugees, and elderly and young Australians. Contact the Red Cross to know more about FoodREDi.