COVER STORY We get behind the Feed Australia Appeal to help the millions of Aussies who are going hungry.
The number of Australians going without enough to eat is staggering, and this is why we’re getting behind the Feed Appeal to help those in need, writes SHANNON HARLEY.
What’s for dinner? It’s a simple enough question most of us ask ourselves at least once a day. Simple enough, that is, unless you are one of the four million Australians who couldn’t afford to feed themselves or their families at some point last year.
Hunger is a serious problem in this so-called lucky country.The latest report from Food bank, Australia’ s largest hunger-relief organisation, reveals that of that four million, three in four are categorised as having ‘very low’ food security. Food-rescue organisations such as FareShare, OzHarvest and SecondBite
are making a significant dent in the double-edged sword of food waste and hunger by rescuing good surplus food destined for landfill and redistributing it to those in need via free community programs.This year,FareShare alone anticipates it will cook 2.5 million meals for people in desperate need of a good feed, while OzHarvest already helps 1300 charities nationwide.
Despite the epic efforts of food-rescue charities, Foodbank’s latest figures show almost two-thirds of charities surveyed said they struggle with limited capacity and access to food, and couldn’t keep up with the demand for help.This is why the new national Feed Australia Appeal has been launched by News Corp Australia (publisher of delicious .), which is running a campaign across its mastheads as part of its News in the Community program.
“We’re proud to support a campaign that empowers local charities to help those less fortunate,” says News Corp community ambassador Penny Fowler. “The Feed Appeal will help everyday Australian families who rely on food charities in their local community.”
The Feed Appeal started in Victoria in 2008, when local newspaper Maroondah Leader sought to raise $10,000 for a struggling community kitchen. It grew into the Feed Melbourne Appeal, which has since raised more than $5 million for over 330 food-relief charities.This year, the appeal goes national for the first time, run by News Corp newspapers and magazines and FareShare, with support from Newman’s Own Foundation, and they’re counting on you to help feed Australia.
No gesture of support is too small.
Just 50 cents donated to the
Feed Appeal in your state can provide a meal for someone in need. Feed Appeal CEO Katherine GokaviWhaley has tasked Australia with the goal of raising $1 million this year, 100 per cent of which will go to food charities and community meal programs.The funds will buy kitchen and storage equipment to help charities make the most of rescued food and help buy essential cooking items.
The fruits of previous Feed Appeals have had an impact across Victoria. Helping Hands Mission, for instance, is a not-for-profit organisation that runs seven op shops in Melbourne and rural Victoria to fund programs providing emergency aid, clothing, meals, groceries and opportunities for social inclusion for vulnerable Victorians.The charity feeds more than a thousand people each week including pensioners, young families, students and survivors of domestic violence. One woman, Nicole, was left with nothing after she fled an abusive relationship. She’d never had to ask for help before, but in desperation turned to Helping Hands. “If I hadn’t reached out, I don’t know where I’d be... This place was just a lifeline to me.”
But with the charity’s food pantry based in an old tin shed, CEO Melanie Kent says it was imperative to have better storage for the perishables from food-rescue charities to keep their meal program going. Feed Melbourne Appeal grants paid for industrial-sized freezers and a cool room, enabling Helping Hands to get as much food out to the community as possible. Previously, food donations were turned away because of limited storage and cooking capacity.
“When a grant like Feed Melbourne comes along it is such a gift to us.
It has had a huge impact,” says Kent.
There are plenty more similar success stories of charities, small and large, bolstered by donations. You can get involved by donating or applying for a grant if you’re a charity. Woolworths is also backing the appeal. Throughout July, shoppers can pay it forward with tokens bought at the checkout that each provide two meals for people in need.
A complex web of factors, from lack of education to poverty and mental illness lies at the heart of food insecurity, and while the work of food banks is essential on the frontline, initiatives such as this invite the wider public to be a part of the solution to ending hunger in a country that has plenty to go around.