Demand for food support skyrockets in pandemic
VOLUNTEERS at a Sunshine Coast care organisation are relying on hampers to feed families in need as demand for support during the coronavirus crisis skyrockets.
More than 170 people have signed up for support with Suncoast Christian Care during the pandemic and Brian Bakes says wholesalers are starting to run low on supplies.
The director of the Nambour care provider says there has been unprecedented demand for food support as a result of natural disasters and COVID-19.
"We were inundated with people stocking up on groceries and food items, then it quietened right up," Mr Bakes said.
"People found they didn't have the funds they had before for groceries.
"We'd set aside food for 300 hampers and have started delivering as people needed them... we know it's going worse before it gets better."
Mr Bakes said the organisation wouldn't run out of food but support from the community was critical to provide for needy families.
The organisation has been able to sustain more people thanks to a $21,000 grant from Feed Queensland Appeal last year.
"We were able to purchase more fridges and freezers for stock, so it helps us store more food," Mr Bakes said.
It's been a rough year for rural communities across Australia with drought, floods, bushfires and now the global pandemic hitting hard.
Feed Appeal chief executive Katherine Gokavi-Whaley said the 2020 appeal had received double last year's number of rural grant applications.
Sixty-two per cent of rural charities say their communities have been devastated by at least one - in many cases, two - natural disasters over the past 12 months, on top of COVID-19.
"Many (rural charities) are indicating an upwards of 80 per cent increase in demand on their programs, with the majority being people who are reaching out for the first time," Ms Gokavi-Whaley said.
Feed Appeal is joining forces with Squeaky Gate Growers Co, under a new partnership to bolster the appeal's Rural Grants Program.
The Australian olive oil maker's support will provide more than 100,000 additional meals a year, over three years, to nourish rural communities.
Just a $2 donation to the Feed Appeal can provide four meals to #feedafamily.
Every dollar donated goes back into the community as grants.
The appeal works in collaboration with News Corp Australia and FareShare and is powered by Newman's Own Foundation.
Find out more at feedappeal.org.au.
Originally published as Demand for food support skyrockets in pandemic