Foodbank hungry for change
MILLIONS of Australians are going hungry because they can't afford to eat and the manager of a food relief organisation says the problem is real in Ipswich.
Figures from the national Foodbank Hunger Report show one in six Australians went without food at some point last year.
Foodbank sends donated food to communities across Queensland and in the 2015-16 financial year, 171 tonnes was given to Ipswich.
Foodbank Queensland general manager Ken McMillan said most of this donated food went to low-income families, homeless people, pensioners and breakfast programs at schools.
He said hunger was an issue in Ipswich as unemployment was high.
He said meals were one of the first things to go when people were struggling for money.
Foodbank works with several food relief agencies in Ipswich.
Many schools in Ipswich also receive donated food to assist students who do not receive breakfast.
Mr McMillan said four million Australians went without a meal last year mostly because of financial stress. He said the problem had been growing since the global financial crisis.
"We throw away a third of the food we produce in this country, which is environmental stupidity," he said.
"There is nothing wrong with that food. We are a country of waste and we just think it's crazy that perfectly edible food (is being thrown out) and we've got all these people that are hungry."
Hunger is a hidden problem, Mr McMillan said.
Most people know someone who has been affected by cancer or depression, but some people might struggle to think of someone they know who has been affected by hunger.
But the figures show there is someone in your street that is hungry.
"We're a proud race of people, we don't tell people this," Mr McMillan said.
"We know the pensioners are struggling, but they won't tell you.
"It's very undignified to ask for a food handout."
Foodbank receives about 50 tonnes of a food a day that they send to communities, but Mr McMillan said there was still a major shortfall.
About 43,000 people seeking food relief every month in Australia are turned away because of a lack of food supply.
Throughout August, Foodbank is running an awareness campaign called Food Fight to help raise awareness about the problem.
This month people can buy a Food Fight partner product at Woolworths stores and Foodbank will receive a donation to help fight hunger in Australia.
Visit foodbank.org.au for more information. - ARM NEWSDESK