In Australia, everyone should be able to put good food on their table.
Through good times and tough times, we should all have the dignity and security of a warm and safe home, food on the table and access to the essential things we need. No one in Australia should be forced to go without these basics, yet for millions of resilient and resourceful Australians struggling to keep up with the cost of living, the current way of doing things is leaving people behind. In a caring and compassionate country, we need government, businesses and communities to be hands-on in ensuring that when people fall on hard times, they still have enough to meet their basic needs.
The One Box program provides fresh, nutritious food to families struggling to make ends meet. Our program started from a place of compassion and a belief that successful businesses have a responsibility to share our resources so that everyone can live well. Like many in the community who care about everyone having enough to eat, The Fruit Box Group agreed that we could do better than just providing ‘poor food for poor people’.
Through The One Box, we purchase and provide the types of fresh, healthy fruit and vegies that people and community organisations want most, but often have the most trouble affording. But, no matter how good our intentions, or how necessary our program is for the many families struggling to put food on the table right now, The One Box can’t solve hunger on its own.
We need reliable jobs that pay enough to keep up with the cost of living, and that can sustain a family. We need governments to help end the poverty trap – to lift incomes for people paid the least, to tackle housing and food affordability, and to make sure we have a social safety net strong enough to keep families who fall on hard times out of poverty. We need more accurate and regular national monitoring of food stress that reflects how many people are being held back from a better life. And we need to honour the essential human right to adequate food for all Australians, so that every child is nourished enough to do well in school, and every person is supported to build their best future.
We are all capable of working together, of doing more than just filling a gap that is not closing. Good, basic nutrition should not and cannot just rely on acts of charity.
Written by Vivien Yii, Research Coordinator at The Fruit Box Group
Resources and further reading:
1. McKay FH, Lindberg R. The important role of charity in the welfare system for those who are food insecure. Aust N Z J Public Health [Internet]. 2019 Jul [cited 2019 Jul 12]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12916
2. Lindberg R, Whelan J, Lawrence M, Gold L, Friel S. Still serving hot soup? Two hundred years of a charitable food sector in Australia: a narrative review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. 2015;39(4):358-365. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1111/1753-6405.12311
3. Bazerghi C, McKay F, Dunn M. The Role of Food Banks in Addressing Food Insecurity: A Systematic Review. J Community Health [Internet]. 2016;41(4):732-740. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-015-0147-5.
4. Middleton G, Mehta K, McNaughton D, Booth S. The experiences and perceptions of food banks amongst users in high-income countries: An international scoping review. Appetite [Internet]. 2017;120:698-708. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2017.10.029
5. Simmet A, Depa J, Tinnemann P, Stroebele-Benschop N. The Nutritional Quality of Food Provided from Food Pantries: A Systematic Review of Existing Literature. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2017;117(4):577-588. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2016.08.015.
6. Herzfeld M. The Intersection Between Emergency Food Relief and Food Security [Internet]. Hobart: Tasmanian Council of Social Services; 2010 [cited 12 July 2019]. Available from: https://issuu.com/tascoss7/docs/intersection_of_emergency_food_reli
7. King S, Moffitt A, Bellamy J, Carter S, McDowell C, Mollenhauer J. When there’s not enough to eat: A national study of food insecurity among Emergency Relief clients. State of the Family Report Volume 2 [Internet]. Anglicare. 2012 [cited 12 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.anglicare.org.au/media/2845/anglicaresydney_whentheresnotenoughtoeat_2012.pdf
8. King S, Bellamy J, Kemp B & Mollenhauer J. Hard Choices: Going Without in a Time of Plenty. A Study of Food Insecurity in NSW & the ACT. Anglicare Sydney. 2013 [cited 12 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.anglicare.org.au/media/2850/anglicaresydney_hardchoicesfoodinsecurity_2013.pdf
9. Food and Nutrition Monitoring and Surveillance in Australia: Policy Position Statement [Internet]. Public Health Association of Australia. 2018 [cited 12 July 2019]. Available from: https://www.phaa.net.au/documents/item/2866