Hunger isn’t confined to people who are homeless or unemployed — it is becoming a big concern for a growing number of everyday Australians, the Herald Sun reports.
The latest figures from website Ask Izzy show a 101 per cent jump in people searching for food relief over the past year.
Ask Izzy was developed by Infoxchange as a free one-stop shop site to connect people in need with vital support services in their neighbourhood.
Food now accounts for more than a third of searches on the website, which has had more than 2.4 million hits since its national launch in 2016.
Infoxchange chief executive David Spriggs said the data showed a broader picture of need in the community.
“We knew (Ask Izzy) would be a vital resource for people experiencing homelessness,” he said.
“What we didn’t see coming was the huge demand for food support from everyday Australians who aren’t necessarily homeless but are nevertheless struggling to make ends meet.”
In Victoria there were more than 64,000 searches — 175 a day — for food relief last year.
This does not include the thousands of people already relying on local charities to feed themselves or their families.
“That’s what’s so disturbing about these figures — those turning to Ask Izzy are often people who are reaching out for help for the first time,” Mr Spriggs said.
Almost a third of the searches were from people in Melbourne’s CBD with St Albans, Tarneit, Reservoir, Frankston, Preston, Quandong, Sunshine, Craigieburn and Footscray making up the top 10.
“What you really get from the data is the sense that, while there were a lot of inner-city searches, the need is not confined to one area but right across the state,” Ms Spriggs said.
“People would be surprised to know people were struggling in their suburb.”