Rising cost of living impacts food banks

(Unsplash/joel muniz)

A Wyndham food bank says the soaring price of fruit and vegetables is leading to an increase in residents requiring their services.

Equip Food bank provides a drive-in collection for people experiencing financial hardship to pick up meals.

General manager Smitha Gustav says the group usually provides their services to about 30 families a week, but over the last six weeks in particular, the number of people reaching out has almost doubled.

“At the moment we can still stretch to, maybe another twenty families, but if it continues to increase though we will have to find innovative ways to find funding,” she said.

“We have a couple of families we have not seen before…[we’re] seeing people from all ages and backgrounds, students, people from overseas.”

Recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics analysed the impacts of the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures household inflation and includes information about price change for categories of household expenditure.

According to the data, the CPI had risen by 1.8 per cent in June, the price of vegetables increased by 7.3 per cent, and fruit by 3.7 per cent.

The ABS predicts supply chain disruptions caused by flooding, labour shortages, and rising freight costs contributed to the increase.

For people wanting to provide support to their local food bank, Ms Gustav recommends donating money, as the service is able to purchase produce at a cheaper price.

“If they bring groceries, it’s not going to help as much, because they’re paying more money to buy them,” she said.

“Even volunteering, that would help a lot because we are low on volunteers as well because of the flu season and covid going on a spike as well.”