When there isn’t enough to eat

Posted on 20. Jul, 2009 by in Research, Resources

Study of Clients at ANGLICARE’s Emergency Relief Service in Wollongong

Summary of Pilot Survey Findings

Prepared by Sally Babbington, October 2006…

Download survey report (pdf 266kB)

Introducing Food Insecurity

INTRODUCTION

Cover of When There Isn't Enough To Eat

Cover of When There Isn't Enough To Eat

ANGLICARE (Diocese of Sydney) has a carried out a pilot study among the clients of an Emergency Relief (ER) centre in Wollongong, regarding their lack of food. The study records clients’ struggles to obtain enough food for themselves and their households, and the right kinds of food, in socially acceptable ways. This experience is known as Food Insecurity.

The purpose of the study was to describe clients’ experience of food insecurity, to measure its severity and chronicity, and to look into the reasons, coping mechanisms and impacts of this experience. It is intended that results will be used to support the development of policy that redresses food insecurity. It is also intended that this pilot study will form the basis for a national study of Emergency Relief centres.

The study was piloted by Anglicare Sydney researchers amongst clients from Anglicare Sydney’s ER centre in Wollongong during three weeks in February-March 2005. Key results identify that adults were food insecure in 95% of households; reflecting their need for emergency relief. This means that they experienced some level of food insecurity at least once in the three months prior to being surveyed. Adults frequently went hungry in a quarter of the households surveyed. Of the households with children, 70 percent did not have enough food; children in 22% of such households (14 cases) experienced hunger.

This paper presents a selection of results from that pilot, specifically: a profile of the people who were interviewed – supplemented with service statistics of all clients during the survey period; an insight into the struggles that government benefit dependent households have to afford basic needs; and an overview of the food insecurity experience of households, including some characteristics of food insecure households. Coping strategies and reportedreasons for struggling with obtaining food are presented, and client feedback on Illawarra emergency relief services is also provided. The paper ends with the voices of clients regarding the impacts of not having enough to eat.

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