Australia’s deepening cost of living crisis has been summed up by one heartbreaking picture which shows people from all walks of life queuing for free food.
Residents, from the very young to the elderly, have been pictured waiting in line for food at a free supermarket in central Sydney.
Staff at the OzHarvest supermarket in Sydney’s Waterloo have reported an alarming rise in visits from the ‘working poor’: those in work – including, nurses, teachers and lawyers – who are unable to feed themselves amid spiralling cost-of-living increases.
One formerly well-heeled lawyer who has battled alcoholism said he visited the store because he ‘can’t afford to buy food anymore’.
This heartbreaking image shows people from all walks of life, from the very young to the old, visiting the OzHarvest free supermarket in Sydney’s Waterloo. Staff there reported a rise in nurses, doctors and lawyers visiting who unable to afford food amid the cost of living crisis
Almost half of Australians claim they cannot afford to fill their trolleys under current groceries prices, while four in five are actively working to reduce their food costs, according to recent Suncorp research
Yesterday, it was revealed the cost of food at Australia’s two supermarkets has surged with groceries at Coles increasing by 10.4 per cent in April and Woolworths rising by 8.7 per cent over the same period.
The research, which was conducted by investment bank UBS and involved the analysis of over 60,000 supermarket products, found that the prices for fresh food leapt by almost 10 per cent.
It comes as inflation has risen to just under seven per cent despite 11 consecutive interest rate hikes, sparking fears there will be another hike next week.
Almost half of Australians claim they cannot afford to fill their trolleys under current groceries prices, while four in five are actively working to reduce their food costs, according to recent Suncorp research.
The dire situation has led to people from every strata of society being forced to queue up for free food at places like OzHarvest.
John, a senior lawyer who was in court last week representing a client, said he had fallen on hard times after two divorces and a battle with alcoholism.
‘It was very humbling coming to a place like this, and I’ve fallen from lofty heights,’ he told news.com.au.
‘I was highly respected, there was money galore and two divorces later, and thanks to my drinking, I’ve lost my money, and I’m coming here because I can’t afford to buy food anymore,’ he revealed.
‘Without the place, I wouldn’t be eating, and the people here are so non-judgmental, and you feel comfortable, and that is reassuring,’ he added.
Kat, a social worker for OzHarvest, said she had noticed more being in work seeking out help, including nurses, teachers and lawyers.
OzHarvest collects excess food from commercial outlets and gives it to charity
‘…they feel embarrassed they are here because they are working, but we say you are welcome because people don’t come here unless they really need to,’ she said.
‘Currently, it is the perfect storm. People are earning what they were earning two years ago, but now everything is more expensive, and they just can’t make ends meet anymore.’
She added: ‘The nurses and teachers that come, they do break my heart. They come in their uniforms before or after their shifts, and they just explain that life is tough at the moment, and they are in need and are looking for some relief.’
OzHarvest was founded in 2004 by businesswoman Ronni Kahn who was appalled at the amount of food going to waste in her events planning business.
The food rescue organisation is all about collecting quality excess food from commercial outlets – including high profile restaurants – and then delivering it free of charge to over 800 charities to provide assistance to vulnerable people across the country.
Last year, the charity celebrated delivering its 200 millionth meal.