DESPERATE SITUATION: Kerry McQualter, director of the Ipswich Foodbarn, is busy distributing food hampers to a growing queue of families.
DESPERATE SITUATION: Kerry McQualter, director of the Ipswich Foodbarn, is busy distributing food hampers to a growing queue of families. Sarah Harvey

50 more families a week seek charity

FIFTY new families a week are seeking food hampers from the Ipswich Foodbarn as cost-of-living expenses spiral out of control.

Foodbarn director Kerry McQualter said up to 40% of all people seeking help from the community organisation were employed, but still didn't earn enough to meet the basic needs of their family.

The scale of the problem was thrown into focus after a new Anglicare report revealed adults in 22,000 Australian households that had accessed their emergency relief services, had gone without food for a whole day, most weeks.

The Ipswich Foodbarn, which is run by Community Compassion, distributes about 85 food hampers a week to Ipswich families, and Mr McQualter said his staff was seeing more new faces than ever before.

"We are still in the vicinity of five to 10 new families a day in here," Mr McQualter said.

"We are open every day and all up it's between 40-50 new families a week.

"We get couples, singles, single-parent families, everyone really.

"Many have just got paid, but after paying all of their bills they have had to get help to get through the week."

Numbers in Ipswich spiked after the 2011 flood disaster, but hadn't fallen as was usually the case after a natural disaster.

Mr McQualter said the normal method of identifying need through a Centrelink profile had begun to change due to the number of employed people seeking help.

"I see people who are working and going without food to feed their kids," he said. "They wait until things are desperate because they are so embarrassed about having to ask for food.

"One of those ways we can help is by giving them cheap food. Families can purchase a food hamper for $30 which includes up to $120 of supermarket value food."

Those in desperate situations were given the hampers for nothing and were welcome to return whenever in need, he said.

"I find it's usually the females that come in for help because a lot of the men are too proud to admit they need help," he said.

"People either pay a handling fee or they get it for nothing at all. Allowing them to pay something gives them the feeling they are not accepting charity.

"We allow them to come in as many times as required to make sure their family is fed. We have a policy that no family leaves here without food."

HELPING HAND

Ipswich Foodbarn distributes about 85 food hampers a week.

Hampers include:

  • Fresh bread and milk
  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Meat and smallgoods
  • Frozen food like pies and sausage rolls.
  • Canned spaghetti, baked beans, soup



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