Young Australians are going without food, with 65% of 18 to 25-year-olds going hungry at least once a week.
Foodbank 2020 Hunger Report findings released earlier this week revealed the nation’s Gen Zs were among the hardest hit by the effects of the coronavirus, many having never experienced food insecurity prior to 2020.
Despite Federal Government assistance measures, such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper, Chief Executive of Foodbank NSW and ACT Gerry Anderson said the state’s youth were among those seeking food relief for the first time.
“Foodbank NSW are seeing new groups reach out for help for the first time, in particular casual workers and international students,” he said.
“Students from universities, TAFE and private educational institutions have so far taken more than 8,200 hampers of pantry staples home across NSW.”
Foodbank NSW and ACT is a food relief organisation that partners with the food and grocery sector to supply more than 1,000 front-line charities and schools with fresh food and grocery staples, addressing hunger within the community.
The not-for-profit relies on governments, individuals, organisations, community groups and volunteers to maintain stocks for those in need.
The group’s eighth annual Hunger Report, bringing together research between April and August, suggests people seeking food relief assistance at least once a week has more than doubled since last year, up from 15% to 31%.
Foodbank, together with other community food charities, has recorded an overall demand up by an average of 47%.
The report also revealed COVID-19’s impact looks set to wreak havoc well into 2021.
“Those who were struggling before coronavirus hit have been impacted more quickly and seriously than others,” Mr Anderson said.
“Support is needed now more than ever before as we brace and prepare for what is to come.”
Mr Anderson says the top three causes of food insecurity in NSW are unexpected expenses or a large bill, living on a low income or pension and rent or mortgage payments.
“Three in 10 Australians who had not gone hungry before the pandemic are now facing food insecurity.
“The demand for food relief has not yet seen ‘peak hunger’ in the COVID-19 crisis.”