Food insecurity is a fast-growing problem, and SECC is doing what it can to help locals in south-east Sydney.
Relief organisation Foodbank says those struggling before coronavirus hit faced fresh new challenges in the pandemic.
Before COVID-19, the main groups accessing food relief were families living on a low income, the unemployed, single-parent families, the homeless and people with mental illness.
Since March this year, some of these groups have become even more vulnerable. They need access food relief more often.
Young Australians are much more likely to be doing it tough as a result of COVID-19. With this generation more likely to be casual employees, many have seen their income reduced.
Disadvantaged people live week to week. They are less likely to have safeguards against sudden changes.
Charities such as South Eastern Community Connect have seen increased demand for food relief in recent months.
In 2019, 15% of Australians experiencing food insecurity were seeking food relief at least once a week.
In 2020, this has doubled to 31%.
Many are experiencing food insecurity for the first time.
The casual workforce and international students are newly food-insecure.
For them, COVID-19 has been a catalyst for a chain of negative events of which food shortage is only a part.
As bills pile up, stress and unmet physical needs are likely to cause a decline in mental health.
Government assistance provides only temporary relief.
JobKeeper and JobSeeker has been a means of survival for businesses and individuals. But of those in need of government assistance, only 38% suggest these payments have helped their situation.
Over 60% are not receiving the help they need (37% needed additional assistance, 21% were ineligible, 4% found it too difficult to apply). Although the government is providing temporary relief, charities and food-insecure Australians are feeling uneasy about the future.
Almost 35% don’t know how they will cope or expect they will not cope well at all when this support is no longer available.
South Eastern Community Connect is on the frontline of providing food relief to residents of south-east Sydney.
During the pandemic, the team delivered thousands of meals to local community members. Shelter NSW and the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) both recognised this, and we are now the lead local agency involved in pandemic planning in the housing estate towers of Eastlakes and Rosebery.
We always welcome donations of non-perishable food and essentials at our Community Hub in Mascot (1007 Botany Rd) and Bendigo Bank at 222 Clovelly Rd, Coogee.
Please call 02 7903 0607 if you are able to do a drop-off of the following essentials this week: