I'm having to go days without eating so my kids can eat

1 May 2024

I’m having to go days without eating so my kids can eat

New Salvos research surveys Australia’s most vulnerable, with 94% struggling to afford essentials, 63% skipping meals

The Salvation Army is launching its 60th Red Shield Appeal this week, with the need for its services and support greater than ever before. New research has highlighted the depths of the cost-of-living crisis, with 94 per cent of respondents saying they are struggling to afford essentials, such as housing, groceries, medical care and utilities.

Sixty-three per cent of respondents had skipped meals and 45 per cent had to choose between paying for housing or buying food. Shockingly, the research also found over 1 in 4 (27 per cent) of respondents were forced to consume expired or spoiled food, while 1 in 20 had to eat food from rubbish bins.

The research surveyed 1,500 people who had reached out to the Salvos Doorways financial relief service over a 12-month period. It showed 61 per cent of respondents could not afford to pay their utility bills on time, more than six times the national average of 10 per cent.

A 33-year-old mother who accessed support, said: “[I’m] having to constantly borrow money off friends due to not being able to buy essentials. I’m having to go days without eating so my kids can eat, cancelling specialist appointments that are a requirement for my health due to the cost of living.”

The Salvation Army’s Major Brendan Nottle said the numbers were frightening. “In a lucky country like Australia, individuals and families shouldn’t have to make these sorts of decisions, like choosing whether to eat, pay rent or send your kids to the doctor. But these are the people the Salvos help every day as we try to give a new beginning to those struggling in our community,” he said.

Another mother said: “I find each week I’m having to borrow money to get by, so each week I am behind. Some weeks I have not paid my rent so I can provide for my kids and medical scans they have needed. It causes so much stress living on the edge.”

The Red Shield Appeal aims to raise $38 million, enabling The Salvation Army, Australia’s most trusted charity*, to support Australians doing it tough in communities around the country.

Each year, through The Salvation Army’s nationwide network of over 400 centres and 2000 services in areas such as homelessness, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, youth support, family and domestic violence, financial hardship and much more, the Salvos provide**:

  • Assistance to one person every 17 seconds
  • More than 1.67 million sessions of care to over 250,000 people in need
  • Over 1.2 million bed nights to people who need accommodation
  • More than 1.63 million meals to people who access our homelessness services.

Major Nottle said: “This is why the Red Shield Appeal is so important. Our research found 92 per cent of respondents said they would not have managed without the help they received from The Salvation Army. Behind every one of these stats are real people and they can all be profoundly impacted by the support of The Salvation Army with your help.”

To give a new beginning, pleasedonate to The Salvation Army’s 60thRed Shield Appeal by visiting salvationarmy.org.au or calling 13 SALVOS. You can also donate at any Salvos Store.

For more information, please contact The Salvation Army’s Media Relations Department on (02) 9466 3143.
*Roy Morgan 2023
**The Salvation Army Annual Report 2022-23

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