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Affordable housing, sky-rocketing bills, and now food, is a serious issue for individuals and families, whether they are living on the margins or the working poor.
After paying rent, utility bills and hopefully putting some petrol in the car, food is the first necessity people are giving up to meet their competing living costs.
Our BaptistCare HopeStreet teams are seeing firsthand that food distress is on the rise dramatically, and people are in desperate need of low cost food, a free meal, or emergency relief to ensure they do eat.
We’re seeing single parent families, or families living right on the poverty line, who just can’t afford to feed themselves and their children. Lunchboxes go to school with little to nothing in them, and nutrition becomes a secondary concern to actually being able to access food.
Where complex family issues are playing out, single parents can sometimes be waiting on government payments for up to 12 weeks, giving them even less cash to work with as they try to feed their children.
For people living in boarding houses or who are homeless, the situation is exacerbated by having limited facilities to prepare or cook any food they can access. They experience a myriad of issues, and food just happens to be one of them.
The daily meal we prepare and serve is often the only meal our clients will have for that day and clients turn up well before the meal is served, to connect with each other and feel a sense of community and support. We’re usually at capacity because the need is so great.
Our free and low-cost food, as well as our emergency food packs, are all about maximizing what goes home and fills the cupboards, whether it’s free fruit, vegetables and bread or low cost grocery items.
The Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW nailed it with the comment, “Poverty isn’t just about a clean measure of income it’s about being able to participate in life and make choices."
Having to make the choice not to eat or feed your family isn’t fair. We come around people and families to give them access to food, and more than that, a safe place to come and ask for help and find hope as they connect with people who truly care about them.