The number of Victorians seeking help to afford food, bills and everyday essentials has more than doubled in the past year according to Anglicare Victoria, a not-for-profit agency that operates 18 emergency relief sites across the state.
Pressure on existing services is tipped to increase substantially over the winter months as Victoria grapples with snap Coronavirus lockdowns and people attempt to make ends meet on reduced welfare benefits – or in some cases without any government support at all.
To ensure its emergency relief sites are well stocked and prepared to support vulnerable Victorians throughout the winter months, Anglicare Victoria is launching its inaugural ‘Food Boost’ fundraising initiative on June 1, marking the first day of winter 2021.
Chris de Paiva, Manager of Homeless Support Services & Parish Partnerships at Anglicare Victoria, said that the emergency relief sites he oversees in Melbourne were inundated with people requesting food parcels in the days ahead of Victoria’s lockdown. As a result many sites are now running low on the essential items that everyone needs, he said.
“Without support, Anglicare Victoria will be unable to meet demand. While we receive some government funding, our food and relief programs rely heavily on in-kind food and cash donations to meet the growing need. We’re calling on the generosity of Victorian people to raise much needed donations for our Food Boost program, to ensure those most at need don’t go without this winter,” Chris said.
“The majority of clients we see are living week-to-week and they don’t have the financial resources to stock up on basics. When panic buying strips supermarket shelves of essentials, our clients are the ones who end up going without. Having a fully stocked fridge to get through lockdown in your warm home is a luxury not everyone can afford.”
Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria, is encouraging Victorians to dig deep and give what they can to ‘Food Boost’, with every donation received (up to $10,000) being matched dollar-for-dollar by the Give52 Foundation.
“Through Food Boost we’re aiming to raise $30,000 in 24 hours, which will go a long way when it comes to buying food and essentials. We are able to run breakfast programs, support families with food parcels and help individuals with vouchers for basic food supplies. A donation of $35 can provide a warm and nutritious breakfast for a week for a person in need and, thanks to Anton and Jenny Gaudry from Give52 Foundation, we’re able to double the impact of each donation,” said Paul.
“Close to 25,000 people are experiencing homelessness in Victoria and the state is undergoing its first lockdown since the end of JobKeeper. New cohorts are experiencing financial distress for the first time and we’re supporting these people alongside the international students, migrants and asylum seekers who are ineligible to receive government welfare payments.
“It’s tough out there right now, but together we can make a big difference.”