Hunger games are real

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS - LANAI SCARR

SKY­ROCK­ET­ING cost of liv­ing pres­sures are leav­ing mid­dle class Aus­tralians strug­gling to feed their chil­dren.

An alarm­ing one in five Aus­tralian chil­dren have gone hun­gry and have missed out on meals in the last 12 months be­cause of the dire fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion their par­ents are in, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port.

And of those, one in three are go­ing hun­gry ev­ery month, one in five are go­ing a whole day with­out fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles once a week and one in 10 are eat­ing noth­ing all day at least once a week.

The Sun­day Mail can re­veal Food­bank Aus­tralia’s first ever study into food in­se­cu­rity faced by Aus­tralian chil­dren.

Bri­anna Casey, CEO of Food­bank, said the re­port was “fright­en­ing” and should serve as a call to ac­tion for the com­mu­nity.

“This sit­u­a­tion is oc­cur­ring in ev­ery day house­holds. It is a hid­den cri­sis and fam­i­lies are ac­tu­ally hav­ing to choose be- tween pay­ing rent, elec­tric­ity or school fees and feed­ing their kids.”

Ms Casey said par­ents were of­ten shamed into si­lence and said the is­sue must come out of the shad­ows so fam­i­lies can be open about ask­ing for help.

Food­bank Aus­tralia is the largest provider of food relief in the coun­try and says the de­mand for its ser­vices has in­creased by 10 per cent in the past year.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion con­fi­den­tially sur­veyed more than a thou­sand Aus­tralian par­ents with chil­dren un­der the age of 15 in 2017 for its Rum­bling Tum­mies re­port.

The re­port found that chil­dren are now more likely to face food in­se­cu­rity (a lack of food) than adults in Aus­tralia – 22 per cent of chil­dren com­pared to 15 per cent of adults.

An un­ex­pected bill or ex­pense (52 per cent) and house pay­ments (38 per cent) were two of the most prom­i­nent causes of food in­se­cu­rity and more than half of par­ents in food in­se­cure house­holds (51 per cent) ex­pect it to be­come more chal­leng­ing as the cost of liv­ing con­tin­ues to rise.

Dennis Yar­ring­ton, pres­i­dent of the Aus­tralian Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals As­so­ci­a­tion, said teach­ers and prin­ci­pals were notic­ing more chil­dren ar­riv­ing at school with­out food – par­tic­u­larly when it got to the end of the pay fort­night.

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