A long, cold winter has arrived for a new group of food insecure Australians as charity SecondBite launches a winter appeal to bring relief now needed even by stablehands.
Food aid isn’t new – but those who need it now have changed dramatically.
Shocking statistics from food rescue organization SecondBite show that people in steady employment can’t stretch their budgets far enough to cover larger bills and groceries.
Steve Clifford, CEO of SecondBite, said the Food Aid Authority already knew that one in six Australians were food insecure, but previously it had never been those who had jobs.
“Once upon a time, when you had a job, we didn’t see you in our agencies,” Mr Clifford said. “That’s something that’s happened in the last few months.”
He pointed to a number of factors including Covid, flooding on Australia’s east coast, the onset of winter and increased living costs, including electricity and petrol.
“It’s a bit like that wack-a-mole game where people keep their heads above water and then get hit by one thing after another,” he said.
Food is essential, but SecondBite’s research found that it’s seen as the “malleable” cost that’s the easiest to save.
“If the rent is due every month, you can only go without paying it for so long, and you have to keep the lights on and heat in the winter,” Mr Clifford said. “When costs go up but you have a steady income, there’s no money left over for groceries.”
The Coles SecondBite Winter Appeal kicked off Wednesday – an annual opportunity to help fellow Australians suffering from hunger. News Corp Australia Community Ambassador Penny Fowler said she is proud to have been a SecondBite Ambassador since 2011.
“SecondBite’s work has never been more important than it is right now as many Australians grapple with rising living costs on a daily basis to the point where they are unsure of where their next meal will come from or when it will be,” said Mrs. Fowler.
Celebrity Chef and Coles Ambassador Curtis Stone urged customers to pocket deep during winter roll call to support those in our community who are struggling.
“As the temperature drops, you really realize how difficult this winter is going to be for so many who can’t afford to put a regular, healthy meal on the table,” Stone said. “With a donation of just $2, SecondBite can provide the equivalent of 10 nutritious meals to families or individuals in need.”
Mr Clifford said food insecurity is the tip of the iceberg.
“When people come to get food, it’s also a great opportunity to access other services, such as financial counseling, psychological support and housing assistance,” he said.
“It’s not just about the food. As the cost of living continues to rise, the bottom line for these people could be very bleak.”
Purchase a $2 donation card at Coles supermarkets by Tuesday, July 5, or make a donation at a Liquorland, First Choice Liquor, or Vintage Cellars store by Tuesday, July 12.