WELFARE agencies in WA turned away 4000 children every week because they did not have the resources to provide for them, according to a new report by Foodbank.
Chief executive Greg Hebble said the Hunger Report 2014 showed 51,000 WA people received food parcels each week – one third of them children.
‘In spite of this effort, there are still 8841 people in WA seeking assistance each month – including 4210 children – who are turned away empty handed due to lack of food and resources,’ he said.
‘With many living pay cheque to pay cheque, general low income and unexpected expenses or events were found to be the biggest factors in driving families and individuals to access food aid.
‘As increasing numbers of the population are turning to food assistance, charities have been unable to keep pace with demand. ‘More than 60 per cent reported increases in the numbers of people accessing their services, while one in five saw an increase of more than 15 per cent.
Mr Hebble said food relief was a key contact point for agencies to connect with vulnerable people and move towards a longer term solution.
‘Almost three quarters of agencies reported food was a significant reason for people seeking out welfare services, while four in five agencies felt it helped build trust and enabled them to offer other assistance,’ he said.
Mr Hebble believed the Welshpool-based hunger relief charity had the structure to tackle the growing problem of hunger in Australia.
‘Last year Foodbank WA delivered the equivalent of 4,146,666 meals or 11,360 meals each day,’ he said.
‘Our services extend beyond satisfying immediate hunger. In addition to addressing nutritional and physical health needs, a meal contributes to improvements in emotional wellbeing, sense of self worth, social relationships, academic performance and ultimately overall standard of living.’
Members of the public can donate to Foodbank Australia at www.foodbank.org.au.