Queensland braces for a further rise in hunger
12th OCTOBER 2020: Queensland’s largest hunger relief charity, Foodbank Queensland, today reported that demand for food relief is higher than ever recorded and warns it has not yet seen ‘peak hunger’ in the COVID-19 crisis.
Foodbank today published its annual Foodbank Hunger Report which revealed that, while government assistance measures, such as JobSeeker and JobKeeper, have provided much needed temporary relief, charities and Queenslanders in crisis have an extreme sense of unease about the future as these measures are rolled back.
Almost half (45%) of hungry Queenslanders who are receiving benefits do not know how they will cope or expect they will not cope well at all.
Foodbank Queensland CEO, Sara Harrup, said COVID-19 is having a profound effect on Queensland’s hunger crisis, with one third (33%) of those facing hunger in 2020 having never experienced it before.
“We are seeing the highest demand in our 25-year history, with more than 340,000 kilograms of essential food leaving our warehouse every week to help Queenslanders in need,” she said.
Ipswich Foodbarn Managing Director, Qim Kauwhata, said they are being forced to turn away more families every week than ever before due to increasing demand.
“Since COVID-19, our centre has been supplying food hampers to approximately 500 families every week, but are sadly, due to food shortage, sending away more than 300 families who need our support,” Qim said.
While need for food relief has become somewhat erratic and unpredictable, charities are reporting that overall demand is up by 47%.
Ms Harrup said the organisation is seeing new groups reach out for help, in particular casual workers and international students.
“These individuals tend to be younger, so it is not surprising that our report shows it’s our youth who are bearing the brunt of COVID-19. They are going without food more often than any other age group with 65% of food insecure individuals aged 18-25 going hungry at least once a week.”
In Queensland, people seeking assistance at least once a week has increased since last year (from 11% to 18%).
Now in its eighth year, the Foodbank Hunger Report brings together research between April and August 2020 undertaken with both charities and individuals experiencing a hunger crisis.
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