A new face of hunger is here and mushrooming in size, with government coronavirus subsidies drying up, the cost of living rising and unemployment increasing to create the perfect storm. Foodbank Victoria laments “almost a third of Victorians” who are seeking food relief are doing so for the first time.
Foodbank Victoria supports 533 charities across the state, enabling 1.2 million meals a month to be served to Victorians. Carrum’s Pantry 5000 is one such charity, benefiting from 69,000kg of food and grocery items.
Foodbank Victoria CEO Dave McNamara said: “Many hardworking Victorians found themselves in situations they never anticipated, wondering how they are going to make ends meet and how they are going to put food on the table.”
According to the State Government, unemployment rose from 5.2 to 7.1 per cent between March and November last year, and while Treasurer Tim Pallas said the economy was “rebounding”, Mr McNamara fears the rollback of government JobKeeper and JobSeeker subsidies will see the demand for food relief grow. “As the situation continues to evolve and government support measures are rolled back, we anticipate the need for food relief to continue to grow.”
Ken Gooding is a volunteer at Pantry 5000, one of the state’s smaller charities, and describes funding as an “ongoing issue”. “Our aim is to provide sufficient food to support a family or individual for two to three days,” Mr Gooding said.
Pantry 5000, which is located at St Aidan’s Longbeach Church in Carrum, was named Community Group of the Year by Kingston City Council on Australia Day. “Our volunteers want to make a difference, and it is gratifying to know their hard work is appreciated,” Mr Gooding said.
If you can help provide some financial support to Pantry 5000, go to www.longbeachanglicans.org.au/outreach/pantry-5000