Helping Aussies in need this winter
New research released by food rescue organisation SecondBite has revealed that three out of four food charities are experiencing higher demand from vulnerable Australians compared to this time last year. The research also shows that almost three in 10 food charities continue to experience a decline in volunteer numbers as a result of COVID, while more than one in four continue to experience disruptions to their regular services.
This winter, Australian supermarket shoppers can help support those who’ve been hardest hit by COVID-19 by purchasing a $2 donation card at any Coles checkout during the supermarket chain’s annual SecondBite appeal. Coles is also donating 10 cents to SecondBite for every Coles Kitchen 300g soup sold until October 31.
SecondBite ambassador and Board Director Matt Preston says that every customer who buys a $2 donation card will be enabling the not-for-profit food charity to provide the equivalent of 10 meals for vulnerable Australians this winter.
“The need for food relief is even more urgent this winter due to the impact of COVID-19,” Preston says. “Almost 80 percent of our charity and community partners saw an increase in demand for their food relief programs compared to last year. The biggest increase is coming from unemployed people, single-parent families and people experiencing homelessness.
“As many charities rely on volunteers to deliver their services, COVID-19 has also impacted their ability to respond. Nearly 30 percent of our charity partners saw a decline in volunteer numbers and are experiencing ongoing disruption affecting their ability to meet demand.”
One of the charities supported by SecondBite is The Big Umbrella in Melbourne’s inner city, which provides meals to vulnerable locals including people on low incomes or affected by homelessness. The Big Umbrella’s CEO and founder Justin Dickinson says the demand for food relief has tripled since the start of the pandemic in March last year.
“COVID has really affected how we provide food relief, and we’ve constantly had to change our services to meet the demand and abide by different COVID restrictions,” he says.
“Pre-COVID, we were providing 150 to 200 meals a week for people in need. This increased to 2700 meals a week during stage 4 lockdowns. Some 48,000 home-cooked meals made from produce donated from the Coles and SecondBite Community Food Program were provided during this period. It’s amazing what can be achieved when we all work together.”
In addition to providing meals to vulnerable locals, The Big Umbrella also provides emergency food relief services to communities affected by natural disasters such as the 2019-20 bushfires and the recent severe storms in the Dandenong Ranges.
SecondBite Winter Appeal $2 donation cards are available at Coles nationally until Tuesday, July 27. You can also make a donation directly to SecondBite by clicking here.