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Food insecurity on the rise

Saturday, 9th October, 2021

By Andrew Lodiong

The food insecurity issue in towns like Broken Hill is worsening, with relief organisations required to ramp-up operations to meet demand.
More local families accessed support during the latest COVID-19 lockdown and that has exacerbated the problem.
Foodbank NSW/ACT Chief Executive Officer, John Robertson, said there has been an increase in the amount of people that need help.
“We’ve learned throughout COVID just how much need there is in our community,” he said.
“People, for the first time in their lives, are finding themselves in a situation where they can’t put food on the table.”
Foodbank is Australia's largest food relief organisation, providing about 70 percent of food assistance to individuals and families across NSW and ACT.
The state branch has responded to thousands of requests from people in hardship and have distributed dozens of emergency relief hampers to homes in Broken Hill.
Mr Robertson said he does not expect the trend to decrease for months, with regional communities among the most vulnerable.
“We’ve seen the demand look like it’s far from the decline at this point and we don’t anticipate it will drop off until February-March next year,” he said.
“It’s extraordinary just how difficult this has been.
“I think anyone who lives in those remote parts of the state know how much impact the lockdown has had and the end can’t come quick enough.”
One average, Foodbank NSW/ACT send out about 7500 of the emergency hampers per week that are on doorsteps within a few days.
The organisation also had to adapt to ensure operations were conducted in a COVID-safe environment and added an afternoon shift to boost production.
It received financial support from the State Government and logistical assistance from the Australian Defence Force to keep-up with extra demands.
“We are very appreciative for the support that’s been given to us,” Mr Robertson said.
“It has been the difference as to whether or not we would’ve been able to make sure people who needed food got it.
“With the generous support of people who have donated and the government, we’ve been able to ship that food out to people at no cost.”
Foodbank will save a reported $1.3 million on transport costs this year that it would usually spend to deliver to regional and rural NSW.
The warehouse will continue to package the relief hampers that include a variety pantry staples.
A donation of $35 will help deliver the emergency relief to support those in need.
“No one needs to go hungry, particularly now, and people should feel comfortable to reach out,” Mr Robertson said.
For more information or to contribute, visit www.foodbank.org.au.

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