South Australians are increasingly having to choose between heating their homes or putting food on the table, a report warns.
More than 100,000 people seek out help from charity Foodbank every month, an increase of 21 per cent from last year, the organisation says in figures released on Monday.
Foodbank SA chief executive Greg Pattinson says the organisation partly blames the increase in demand on the state’s rising energy prices, with people having to decide to pay their bills or eat.
“There are plenty of stories of people who come in wanting food because they haven’t eaten for three or four days because they just can’t keep up with the bills,” Mr Pattinson said.
About one quarter of those seeking assistances are children and Mr Pattinson said the increased demand on the agency meant it was struggling.
“We know that we are missing people within the community simply because we can’t meet the growing need.”
The reports points to wider problem with 3.6 million Australians nationally experiencing food insecurity in the past 12 months, with nearly half of these people employed.
The organisation blames this on the cost of living including high rent costs, mortgage repayments and food itself becoming more expensive.
This week marks World Anti-Poverty Week and the South Australian Council of Social Service says the public needs to better understand the costs of being poor.
The poorest in the community must spend disproportionately more of their income on basic goods, senior policy officer Dr Greg Ogle said.
These “poverty premiums” are incurred because people cannot buy in bulk, access bank credit services or buy energy-saving technology like solar panels.
“We need to better understand the day-to-day struggles of those living in poverty and ensure that there is adequate support for the most vulnerable,” Dr Ogle said.