LET­TER TO THE ED­I­TOR

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page -

15% of chil­dren from food in­se­cure homes go to school with­out lunch.

11% of chil­dren from food in­se­cure homes go to bed with­out eat­ing din­ner.

This might seem un­fath­omable to many. But it is the stark re­al­ity for many thou­sands of des­per­ate par­ents seek­ing food relief through our char­ity part­ners.

In my trav­els around Vic­to­ria I’ve heard of kids chew­ing pa­per at school to stave off hunger, miss­ing out on birth­day par­ties be­cause there’s no food to share with friends, and of par­ents’ ut­ter de­spair at be­ing un­able to pro­vide the most ba­sic ne­ces­sity – food – for their chil­dren.

While peo­ple are quick to judge and la­bel par­ents ir­re­spon­si­ble, as­sum­ing they spend all their money on al­co­hol, cig­a­rettes and gam­bling, the re­al­ity is the main cause of this cri­sis is the in­creas­ing cost of liv­ing.

There’s al­ready been plenty of talk about this. Stag­nant wages, ca­su­al­i­sa­tion of the work­force, sky­rock­et­ing costs of hous­ing, health in­sur­ance and energy.

This week the Aus­tralian In­sti­tute of Fam­ily Stud­ies pub­lished re­search that found the weekly costs of rais­ing one child range from $140 for un­em­ployed fam­i­lies and $170 for low-paid fam­i­lies

With the na­tional min­i­mum wage cur­rently sit­ting at $694.90 per 38 hour week (be­fore tax), you can see how a sin­gle in­come house­hold, with two or three kids, strug­gles to cover rent or mort­gage re­pay­ments, util­i­ties, trans- port, ed­u­ca­tion, insurances, cloth­ing and food costs.

So what would you do to keep afloat? I imag­ine like the par­ents in our sur­vey you’d skip pay­ing bills, bor­row money, pawn house­hold items, rack up credit card debt and go with­out food your­self to feed your kids. De­spite all these mea­sures, there are still chil­dren go­ing to school or bed hun­gry and some­times not eat­ing any­thing at all for an en­tire day.

We can­not blame and shame par­ents when we have a min­i­mum wage and in­come sup­port sys­tem that is fail­ing. It’s fail­ing and it’s im­pact­ing our kids, our fu­ture. Re­gards,

Dave McNa­mara Food­bank Vic­to­ria CEO

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