A NEW Foodbank survey has shown one in six Australians did not have enough food at least once in the past 12 months.
The Foodbank annual hunger report said more than 153,000 people across WA were assisted each month – 22,000 of those being children.
“Over half of these people say they have experienced food insecurity between one and three times, but for 28 per cent of them it is a regular occurrence,” the report said.
Foodbank Australia chief executive officer Geoff Starr said it was time to put the growing hunger problem on the national agenda.
“We’re calling on all Australians to join us and commit to the fight against hunger,” Mr Starr said.
Foodbank WA chief executive officer Greg Hebble said one of the main reasons people went hungry was because they did not have enough income, had to prioritise housing costs or had unexpected expenses.
“Charities cannot cope with the increasing numbers of people in distress,” Mr Hebble said.
“More than three million kilograms of food were distributed in WA in 2015, equating to 15,500 meals per day.”
Mr Hebble said there was a common misconception that only homeless people needed food relief.
“The 2016 Foodbank survey highlights that the main recipients of food relief are individuals and families who have generally low incomes or are unemployed, not just the homeless,” he said.
Job seekers and workers are accessing food relief due to the rising cost of living or bill shock.
Mr Hebble said people of all ages and backgrounds were looking for support.
“The face of hunger is diverse, including males and females, young and old, single and in families, students, employed and unemployed, as well as retired people,” he said.
“It’s not taking much to tip some people into food insecurity.”
Foodbank WA is operating from its new Centre for Hunger Relief at the Perth Airport, which was purpose-built to meet the increasing demand for food across WA.
“Our local and regional teams are working closely with our agency partners to understand their needs,” Mr Hebble said.
“We are also meeting our vendors regularly to secure more food to meet the growing demand.
“We currently provide food to over 53,000 people across WA and have developed new partnerships and initiatives to help build food security in the state.
“We are proud of the partnerships we have formed, however the fight isn’t over.
“We need more funds and support to ensure that we continue to feed people in times of need.”
Perth Wildcats Captain and Foodbank WA Ambassador Damian Martin attended last week’s report launch and signed a pledge to fight hunger.