Australia

Big Banana goes black to highlight big food problem

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The tourist attraction has turned black to highlight food poverty.

More than 4 million Australians have experienced food insecurity in the past year, an alarming rise in the country's hunger problem.

The annual Foodbank Hunger Report also found that Australians living in regional and remote areas are 33 per cent more likely to have struggled to put food on the table than those in the city. 

To highlight the problem, the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour was shrouded in a black banner reading "hunger in the country is a big problem". 

The message from Foodbank is "hunger in the country is a big problem".
The message from Foodbank is "hunger in the country is a big problem".
Supplied

Foodbank Australia CEO Brianna Casey said many families in the country find it harder to access food and are more likely to feel embarrassed about the situation.

"One in five children has experienced food insecurity in the last 12 months. It is despite parents best efforts to be able to provide for them. We know there are parents that are meal skipping regularly and routinely so that their children can eat," Ms Casey said. 

Charity organisations are calling on the government to step up support for low-income Australians struggling to afford enough food. 

“Tackling the big problem of hunger in the country is an urgent issue that can’t be ignored," she said. "The startling finding of the report begs the question how much worse the current drought in the eastern states will make the situation."

The report also found half of all charities are seeing an increase in the number of people seeking food relief.

For the past 25 years, Colin Ruthford has had to rely on St Canice's Kitchen in Sydney for a free feed.

“Now I can eat even though I have no money and I currently have two dollars to my name.”

Colin Ruthford has been coming to the St Canice's Kitchen for 25 years.
Colin Ruthford has been coming to the St Canice's Kitchen for 25 years.
SBS News

When the service is closed over Christmas, it's not uncommon for the former teacher to go without meals.

Kristina Lawton is a volunteer at St Canice’s Kitchen and has noticed the increase in demand. 

“Several years ago we would finish a service and still have food left over. Today it’s very uncommon to have anything left.”

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