While it may be hard to imagine that a family in your neighbourhood could be going hungry, the reality is that a large and growing number of people can no longer afford to feed themselves and their families. 

Rising mortgage payments, rents, utilities and fuel costs can leave little money left over for food, meaning more people than ever are experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Even double income households are now struggling to afford food, resulting in record demand being placed on Canberra’s food pantries.

Food pantries can be the difference between someone eating or not eating today.

Food pantries are a vital part of Canberra’s Food Relief Network. Run by volunteers and stocked by donations, these pantries work tirelessly to support the specific needs of their local community, providing food, groceries and a place of support in their times of need.

Pantries are open to anyone who needs them, no matter their circumstances.

It is a misconception that food pantries are only available to those who qualify for Government support. And it can be hard to admit that help is required to keep food on the table. At Canberra’s food pantries, anyone facing food insecurity is very welcome, including employed people who simply can’t make ends meet. Crisis can happen to anyone, and everyone is welcome.

Every food pantry is unique.

Each food pantry is designed around the needs of the community they serve and the skills and resources available. For example, St Paul’s Anglican Church food pantry supports a wide cross section of the community, from pensioners, migrants and refugees through to households getting by on one or two incomes. In contrast, the University of Canberra’s UCX food pantry predominantly provides food to students, particularly international students who have little support. This pantry served over 7000 students in 2023 alone.

As demand increases, donations of food and essential items are desperately needed.

Now more than ever, Canberrans are being asked to dig deep and rally behind their local food pantry. Food items in high demand include meat, fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products, coffee, honey and olive oil. Convenience products such as instant noodles and soups are sought after by those without access to cooking facilities. Toiletries and sanitary products are also greatly appreciated as they enable those in need to live with dignity.

Donations of time and money are also greatly needed.

Your financial donation will enable food pantries to buy exactly what is needed for their local community. And because most pantries are run by volunteers, an extra pair of helping hands can make a tremendous difference. Even donating just one hour a week can be a big help to a local food pantry.

Here’s how to take the next step.

Whether you’re able to put a few extra items in the trolley each week, can find a way to donate some dollars or are able to volunteer your time, plan your next step on this website. Be sure to check out the handy interactive map, making it easy to find your local food pantry.

Please take action today to help strengthen Canberra’s Food Relief Network, so that everyone in our community has access to food in their time of need.