How You Can Find Food Assistance During the Coronavirus

| 7 min read Financial Assistance

Millions of people are feeling the devastating effects of the pandemic right now, and among all of the issues caused or worsened by this crisis, food insecurity has emerged as one of the most pressing. As a result of record-high unemployment rates, the closure of small businesses, and lockdown rules, many people are finding it hard to afford basics like food. If you’re like one of the many people who are struggling to find food assistance during the coronavirus, there is help out there for you. Here we’ve highlighted key resources and must-know information about how you and your family can receive the help that is needed today.

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Why has food insecurity become such a big issue?

First, the problem of food insecurity is something that predates coronavirus, but the crisis has made this issue exponentially worse. According to statistics from the Feed Appeal, more than 400,000 Australians have sought food relief for the first time ever this year. In the wake of the coronavirus crisis and the continuing economic fallout, the picture of food insecurity becomes even more dire. With almost one million Australians out of work due to coronavirus and businesses struggling to survive, the most vulnerable in our communities are now facing hunger as a daily reality. 

One study found that even before the pandemic, one in four Australian women said that they have experienced food insecurity in the past 12 months, and one in five Australians said they had been in a situation where they had run out of food and been unable to buy more. The problem is also worsened when you consider the current state of food banks, which typically can be counted on by struggling families for food donations. Across the country, local food banks have seen their supplies run low and demand is only increasing as the economy worsens. All of this has created a perfect storm for families and individuals needing food assistance during the coronavirus crisis.

Where to get food during the coronavirus

If you’re like one of the hundreds of thousands of Australian families that doesn’t have an income right now and you can’t afford food during the coronavirus, there are ways to find or low-cost food options. Local nonprofit organisations, government assistance programs, and even fundraising are good places to start if you need help getting food during COVID-19.

Find organisations that provide meals or food

A great place to get started is by becoming familiar with local food pantries and other organisations that are providing meals or food items. Sometimes finding where to get food or meals during the coronavirus comes down to doing a quick Google search, but you can also check sites for national organisations that are dedicated to providing food to those in need. Here are just a few you can reference: 

  • Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation and has played a crucial role in supporting those impacted by coronavirus with food donations and supplies relief. Foodbank helps source and distribute food to the charities on the frontline of relief in their communities.
  • SecondBite recently reported that the coronavirus crisis has led to a surge in demand for food supplies support from charity partners. The organisation focuses on reducing food waste, collecting food that would go to landfill and redistributing it to charities who are in need of food supplies for the Australians they support.
  • FeedAppeal reports that 50% more Australians are reaching out for help since the coronavirus crisis started. The Feed Appeal focuses on raising funds in order to nourish those in need.

Once you find the nearest food bank or pantry, contact them and see if they have a waiting list, upcoming events, or if they have sufficient supplies. In some areas, food banks are experiencing long lines, or they are running low on food to give out or simply need hands on deck to distribute the food.

Government food assistance programs

If you haven’t looked into it yet, the Department of Social Services ensures that its partner NGOs are fully funded and resourced to ensure that food assistance programs are available to Australians in need. You will need to qualify for these programs, but they are typically a reliable way to get help if you’re having trouble getting adequate food and meals. The two main charities supporting the government’s food relief programs are FoodBank and SecondBite.

How to get food during the coronavirus through your community

Whether it’s getting food or direct financial help during the coronavirus pandemic, your community can play an important role in providing support. There are a few easy ways you can leverage your community, while also keeping yourself and others safe.

Social media

Facebook and apps like Nextdoor can help you reach out to neighbors, family, and friends. By searching for groups in your local community, you can post requests for help, including requests for information about where to get food or meals during the coronavirus. Nextdoor has even created a guide about how to use the app to support and stay connected with your neighborhood during the crisis.

Create an online fundraiser 

Using crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe, you can start a fundraiser to get relief and pay for food expenses. There are already countless examples of COVID-19 relief fundraisers across GoFundMe and many are to support families just like yours. Getting started only takes a few minutes and you can start sharing with your family and friends immediately to get support.

How you can help hungry families during the coronavirus

For those who are in a position to help hungry families during the coronavirus crisis, there are plenty of ways to support our vulnerable families.

Donate to food banks

Find out what food banks need by reaching out to them directly, before you purchase items or drive out to make donations. What food banks need may vary based on your location, but if contacting them is not possible you can also find online resources to get an idea of what to donate and what foods to avoid.

Donate to fundraisers for families in need

With millions of low-income families in need of coronavirus relief, there’s no shortage of fundraisers that you can donate to. By making a donation to families and individuals affected by the coronavirus, you’re ensuring they get the money directly and are able to use it almost immediately.

Start a fundraiser for a family or individual in need

If you have time to help, consider starting a fundraiser for a charity helping distribute food on the frontline, or an individual or family struggling with food insecurity during COVID-19. You can also support loved ones during the coronavirus by fundraising for them. With so many people out of work, you’re likely to know someone who is in need right now.

Get support with food insecurity today

Whether you need food assistance during the coronavirus crisis or you’re in a position to help, fundraising is one of the easiest ways to find relief. Starting a fundraiser is easy, and you can receive funds quickly. With fundraising on GoFundMe, you can sign up and start raising money for yourself or someone you care about today.

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Written by andres