It may be hard to imagine that in a developed and prosperous country such as Australia, there still exists a deep underlying hunger crisis for many where various sections of our community constantly fight a battle of putting food on the table. The Foodbank Hunger Report 2022, highlights that over 2 million household in Australia experienced severe food insecurity mid-2022. Almost 1 in 3 families were either skipping meals or going whole days without eating. The rising cost of living was noted as a significant contributor and as it continues to rise, the numbers affected is increasing significantly.
Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation of Australia & PNG (SSSIOA) for many years has initiated projects to combat this crisis, such as, providing meals to the homeless in various communities, school breakfast programs, providing food hampers to needy sections of the community, and providing temporary food relief to communities impacted by natural disasters.
SSSIOA NSW Region, has of recent times formed a relationship with Foodbank NSW and ACT. Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, providing food and groceries to charities and school breakfast programs in every state and territory.
Considering the extensive work being done by our organisation to fight hunger in Australia, the motivation to seek membership of Foodbank was borne out of the desire to maximise the effectiveness of our resources. Amongst other benefits our membership assists us in two significant ways. Firstly, our programs will be able to procure food and grocery items for any food donation initiatives at significantly lower costs than would otherwise apply through the normal retail network. This ensures the resources committed by our members are used to aid a larger number of individuals than would otherwise be the case. Secondly, Foodbank’s extensive delivery network assist our organisation to expand our provision of food relief to communities in remote, areas which would otherwise be beyond our reach in terms of access and delivery. Both these advantages increase the scope and effectiveness of our efforts.
In the short period since the NSW Region obtained membership, it has already used Foodbank to procure food and grocery items for several food donation programs including:
- Negotiations with Foodbank arranged for 110 food hampers for the people of Lismore to assist with the flood crisis in that area.
- Procuring certain food items to be included in over 100 hampers provided to members of the western Sydney Tamil refugee community.
- Procuring food items for a National Service Project initiated by the Sathya Sai College in Murwillumbah. This provides approximately 25 food hampers monthly to assist needy families of the Murwillumbah community.
- Other smaller projects where food and grocery items were donated to members of the community struggling with basis food needs.
Our organisation is built on firm foundations of service to society. Our ideals include the belief that feeding the hungry is a primary form of service. Our membership with Foodbank is a significant step in ensuring that our organisation can maximise any opportunity that presents itself in the fight against hunger.