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Talking food insecurity with Foodbank

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Talking food insecurity with Foodbank
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Powershop first connected with Foodbank back in April 2020. At this time Foodbank were experiencing a 78 per cent increase in the demand for food relief due to COVID-19 and we knew our customers, who care deeply about their community, would want to help.

Thanks to Powershoppers who referred a friend or joined Powershop during Switch Your Mates Supercharge, we were able to donate $50,000, which provided 100,000 meals to those in our community who needed it the most.

We had a chat with the team at Foodbank ahead of anti-poverty week to understand more about food insecurity and the challenges they’re working to overcome to put food on the table for some of the most vulnerable in our community.

In our work with you, we heard the term ‘food insecurity’ a lot. What does food insecurity look like and how does happen to someone?
We all get hungry, that’s normal, but people who experience ‘food insecurity’ are in a situation where they have run out of food and are unable to buy more or they cut the size of their meals to make their food go further. They may also skip a meal or even go a whole day without food.This is something that can happen to absolutely anyone. It could be a mother escaping from domestic violence, it could be a hardworking couple who have fallen on hard times or a pensioner struggling to make ends meet.

Since COVID-19, what is the greatest challenge Foodbank is working to overcome?
In June we saw a 78% increase in the number of people seeking food relief. Prior to COVID-19, we were already providing food relief to 815,000 Australians every month. In the past three months we have purchased more food and groceries than we have in the past three years. The Foodbank team are working tirelessly to meet this need to give everyday Australians support when they need it most.

How can you take a donation like $50,000 and turn that into more than 100,000 meals?
Thanks to the fantastic relationships that Foodbank has within the food and grocery sector, we can stretch each dollar just that bit further. We work with every aspect of the supply chain to be able to produce a meal for 50c. Without the support of our fantastic growers, manufacturers, and producers we would not be able to achieve this result.

How do you get this food to where it needs to go and how do you establish what is a priority for support?
Foodbank works with a network of 2,400 charities who work with us to distribute food relief nationally. Any charity can register with Foodbank, it is our mission to provide the most amount of food relief in the most efficient way possible. In times of emergency disaster Foodbank works with the highest levels of government to ensure that we can provide food relief as quickly as possible.

One of the positive impacts of support that you mention is ‘social return on investment’. For example, the Powershop community’s donation of $50,000 had a social return on investment of $1.2 million. What does this mean and how is it measured?
Foodbank’s food assistance not only addresses people’s immediate nutrition needs but also contributes to improvements in their health, emotional wellbeing, sense of self-worth, social relationships, and ultimately overall standard of living. Combined with the environmental savings of food not going to waste, the benefit to the individual and the broader community that flows from every kilogram of food distributed by Foodbank provides an incredible value.

Are there signs of food insecurity that we can become more aware of so we can be more mindful of our interactions with friends and family?
It is important to check in on not just your family and friends but also people in your local community, especially during these challenging times. Food insecurity often goes under the radar and you would be amazed of what can come from a simple conversation.

How can we help support the work of Foodbank now and into the future?
The support from Powershop and their customers during the ‘Switch a Mate’ campaign has been truly incredible! We understand that times are tough for everyone and have the potential to be for some time to come, however just $1 can continue to make such an incredible difference to the lives of millions of food insecure Australians.

Additional support:

If this article brought up any issues for you you can find local support services at askizzy.org.au or contact Beyond Blue or Lifeline.

If you require food relief you can find information on the Foodbank website.

We’re here to support you, and if paying your power bills is starting to look like a struggle, please contact us so we can help. You can find more information on our COVID-19 support page.

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