Food hampers for international students
Thousands of emergency food hampers are being distributed to international students in NSW struggling to access supplies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the NSW Government teaming up with Foodbank to supply groceries and pantry staples.
NSW Treasury’s Jenny West says the 62,500 food hampers come from part of $4.1 million allocated to Foodbank to deliver food security to vulnerable NSW communities.
“Two in five charities have seen a rise in the number of international students asking for help in accessing food since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to the Foodbank Hunger Report 2020,” she says.
Each hamper is valued at $80 and is packed with student favourites like instant meals and coffee, plus pantry staples such as breakfast cereal, long-life milk, rice and sauces.
“International education is a crucial sector for our state and our international students contribute so much to NSW metro and regional communities through volunteering and employment, sharing skills and talent, building research links and fostering innovation and entrepreneurialism,” West says.
Foodbank expects to see a strong uptake, urging international students to accept help after its report found three in five people don’t seek support for the food relief they need.
“International students were among the first to feel the impact of COVID-19,” says Foodbank NSW & ACT Chief Officer, John Robertson.
“We need to continue to ensure that anyone who is struggling to put a meal on the table knows they can get ongoing support through Foodbank and our distribution partners.”
For Macquarie University Master of Media and Communication student Siddhant Acharya, the hampers are a reminder he isn’t alone, despite being thousands of kilometres from his home in India: “The hampers have been a lifeline for the international student community and benefitted thousands of my peers,” he says. “I am incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of the NSW Government.”
Students can access a hamper by completing this online form, or calling Foodbank NSW & ACT on (02) 9756 3099 to find their closest distribution centre. For more information on the initiative and accessing a hamper, head to study.sydney/student-welfare/food-assistance