Growing numbers of families and elderly people on the verge of homelessness are turning to Wesley Mission’s Footscray outreach service for help to buy food.
Crisis and homelessness services acting manager Maidie Graham said that in 2015-16, there had been almost a 10 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help, compared to the previous year.
Staff report that some of those seeking help are already homeless, while others are on the brink of being so. They have also noticed an increase in the number of people sleeping in their cars or couch-surfing.
Ms Graham said there had been 9000 requests to Wesley Mission’s Footscray service by people looking for food vouchers, help buying prescription medications, fruit and vegetables or wanting a no-interest loan.
“It’s costing so much more to live now,” Ms Graham said.
“If they are on Centrelink benefits or a low wage, if they don’t get assistance with food, they would struggle.
“They are on the edge of homelessness. A lot of people, through no fault of their own, live in great poverty.”
To help those struggling with the cost of living, the organisation is hosting a barbecue on Friday, acknowledging anti-poverty week, October 16-22.
Ms Graham said community members in need of extra support are welcome to join in the Wesley Mission’s anti-poverty week activities.
The Mission is also running a food drive, collecting non-perishable items, such as canned foods and toiletries, for those in need ahead of Christmas.
Last year, close to 50 tonnes of food and groceries was donated to the appeal.
The barbecue will be held at 310 Barkly Street, Footscray, from noon until 1pm, Friday.
To donate to the food drive, visit: wesley.org.au/home/food-for-families-appeal