Victoria’s middle class the “new face” of poverty

12 June, 2024

A growing number of working families are being added to the queues of economically impoverished Australians relying on food donations during the cost-of-living crisis.

Foodbank Australia, whose latest needs assessment shows 3.7 million households struggled to put food on the table last year, says many households with mothers and fathers working at least one job are now in a state of food stress.

The worrying trend comes as new research shows a quarter of Australians are anxious about putting enough food on the table.

Foodbank Victoria CEO David McNamara said 65,000 meals a day are now distributed by the organisation and volunteers in the field have seen the “face of hunger” change during the cost-of-living crisis.

“The middle class, what we all aspire to be, is the one feeling this impact,” he said. “We have mums and dads who are working two jobs to put family first and put food on the table, and unfortunately they’re putting themselves to bed without food, sending their kids to bed without food – and that’s not appropriate in our society, that’s not who we think we are.

Foodbank Victoria CEO David McNamara

This is an unpleasant discussion, but there are too many of us who are hungry. That’s what we’ve come to think of Australia as, a hungry country; we’re a lucky country, let’s make us lucky again,” he added.

Mr McNamara gave this warning at a Foodbank event to recognise its partnership with global yoghurt giant Chobani, which donates the equivalent of six meals for every family-sized container of yoghurt sold.

He called for more corporate philanthropy to support organisations that feed the growing queues of needy households because the current crisis will take years to recover from.

A survey, commissioned by Chobani, of more than 6,800 Australians shows 24 per cent of people feel “stressed or worried about having enough food on the table”.

When asked if their food security has “improved, worsened or stayed the same in the last year”, 48% said their food security has worsened.

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