It’s hard to imagine someone next to us on the bus, or in our workplace, needing to skip meals to make ends meet. As rent payments, interest rates, fuel, utility bills and other living costs continue to rise, more and more Australians are having to forgo food. This number continues to rise.

Food is a vital necessity. Yet 1 in 6 Australians have not had enough to eat in the past year. Of those, 52% are employed, and include households with dual incomes – families not traditionally facing food insecurity. 1.2 million Australian children have gone hungry.

Many people in our community are experiencing food insecurity for the first time and are reaching out to food relief services to get by. In Canberra alone this past year, 12,500 people ran out of food and had to wait or were unable to buy more.

As more and more Canberrans face poverty, demand on food relief services is increasing.

The Canberra Food Relief Network is a collection of food pantries, food co-ops and other relevant services that help residents within the Canberra region struggling with access to food and groceries. These pantries are run by community organisations, groups, and dedicated individuals across the ACT, with the support of VolunteeringACT.

Each food pantry works to provide a range of goods to address local needs, from non-perishables to fruit, vegetables, meat, and bread, as well as hygiene products and other daily necessities where possible.

These pantries rely upon donations to keep shelves stocked as more people are accessing food services. Food pantries need your help.

As Canberra comes together for Anti-Poverty Week, we’re asking Canberrans to think about how they can ACT to stop hunger in our community.

Anti-Poverty Week runs from October 15-27. It is a chance for everyone to stop and think about what they can do to end poverty. This year’s Anti-Poverty Week message is ‘Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it.’

Poverty affects every aspect of a person’s life, crucially their ability to feed themselves and their family. Supporting Canberra’s Food Relief Network is a direct way to help end poverty in our community.

There are three ways you can help – by donating food, money or time.

Time: If you love helping others, you can sign up to be a volunteer via the VolunteeringACT portal or by contacting one of the pantries directly via the Canberra Food Relief Network interactive map. Alternatively, you can find us in-person at the Community Info Hub, located at the Griffin Centre, 20 George Street, Canberra or call us on 02 6248 7988.

Money: Please dig deep! Your financial donation will go directly towards putting food in the hands of hungry Canberrans. Every dollar is greatly appreciated – please donate today.

Goods: There’s a food pantry near you that is running low on supplies. Donations of food (both fresh and non-perishable) and other essential items (e.g., hygiene products) are needed now. Please place some extra items in your trolley and visit the Canberra Food Relief Network interactive map to find the pantry or relief service closest to you. Alternatively, please visit Givit.

Together, we can strengthen the Canberra Food Relief Network so that everyone in our community has access to food in their time of need.