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Going without in a time of plenty - Report reveals degree of Food Insecurity in NSW and ACT

posted Feb 11, 2014, 8:43 PM by Sean Donovan
Joint research launched 8 May by ANGLICARE Sydney, the Samaritans Foundation and Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT has revealed the extent of hardship for low income households accessing their Emergency Relief (ER) services. 

Of the people surveyed who accessed these ER services, 98% were found to be food insecure and 82.2% were severely food insecure.  This means that they were not sure where their next meal was coming from or they were unable to provide food for their family on a regular basis.

Households also reported that they worried about running out of food (87%), actually ran out of food (68%), cut meal sizes (82%) or skipped meals entirely (68%) on a recurring basis.

Findings for households with children were particularly concerning:

Children in 70% of households were regularly eating low cost food because there wasn’t enough money to buy good quality food.

Parents in 30% of households were regularly cutting their children’s meal size to make food go further.

Children In almost one third of households (31%) were regularly not eating enough because parents couldn’t afford to buy sufficient food.

Children were regularly going hungry in 24% of households.

Children In 7% of households did not eat for a whole day on a regular basis.
Those at highest risk of food insecurity were low income earners, people with a disability, single parents, people experiencing rental stress and people from an indigenous background.

“The biggest constraint in food insecure households was inadequate income,” says Grant Millard, ANGLICARE Sydney CEO.

“People were often making the difficult choice of going without food in order to pay for other more pressing expenses.

“Some 95% of the people surveyed in NSW and ACT indicated that they had run out of food in the last three months due to unexpected expenses like medical bills, car repairs, large power bills and sudden increases in rent.

“We found that parents were often protecting their children from food insecurity by going hungry themselves. However, it is deeply concerning that in one in four food insecure households, children were actually going hungry too.”

Last year, more than 26,000 people accessed ANGLICARE’s Emergency Relief services across NSW and the ACT at a total cost of $4.85million, 40% of which was funded through donations and support provided by local communities.