Wednesday, 21 February 2024

Foodbank SA Reception

Rod and I, as Patron, warmly welcome you to Government House to thank supporters of Foodbank SA&NT and recognise the vital work that the organisation does in the community.

In a wealthy country such as Australia it is sobering to be reminded that Foodbank is not only needed but is increasingly being called upon to help people put food on the table.

Food poverty, as well as having an impact on health, inevitably takes away dignity. A decision to reach out and seek help can understandably crush self-esteem, particularly if it is the first time someone has needed to do so.

The consequences of rising cost-of-living pressures and food insecurity are far reaching, touching families, children, schools, and the wider community.

No one should have to choose between paying bills and giving their child breakfast; deciding not to eat lunch because there is only enough money for one or two decent meals that day.

I am sure that all in this room thought that the work of Foodbank couldn’t get any harder; but it has.

Foodbank advises that cost of living pressures have resulted in an increase in demand on its services with some Food Hubs recording 50-70% increase in demand.

Over the past year, Foodbank SA&NT has provided food relief for more than 135,000 South Australians every month, a third of these being children.

But even as these challenges have got harder, Foodbank is responding.

I commend you all for playing your part in assisting Foodbank to be the “pantry for the charity sector.”

In Rod’s and my visit to Edwardstown warehouse and food hub, we were struck by not only the size of the operation, but also the size of the commitment by staff and volunteers to making a difference.

Speaking to Foodbank supporters and volunteers at a similar reception here, and at the Foodbank SA Women of Influence luncheons, clearly there is a generosity of spirit amongst everyone who contributes to the Foodbank mission.

To the staff, volunteers, individual and corporate supporters, and sponsors, thank you for offering your time, talent, and resources.

Without you, the shelves at the warehouse and food hubs across the state wouldn’t be stocked, the food orders wouldn’t be delivered, the phones wouldn’t be answered.

Importantly, this means that people are given hope that they won’t struggle to provide a decent meal for their family.

Going beyond the day-to-day operations, I commend Foodbank for raising awareness of hunger through its annual national Hunger Reports.

The words make stark reading, but by knowing the enormity of the issue, we as a community can make a commitment to being part of the solution.

To everyone here, thank you for your unwavering pursuit of that goal of ending hunger.

I wish you all well in your quest now and into the future.

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