“These are often two-income households, or sometimes households with adults who have two jobs… All of their life expenses are increasing faster than their income,” Casey said.
Many have never needed charity, while others who have sought relief from time to time now regularly request it.
“We’re bracing (on the first Tuesday of the month) for an increase in demand, not just for those who have mortgages, but for those who rent when the landlord charges,” Casey said.
Inflation has hit worker households the hardest, rising to 9.3 percent in December. It is the largest increase since the Australian Bureau of Statistics began tracking the data in 1999.
In addition to the demand for food items, Casey said the charity had also seen an increase in demand for personal care products such as menstrual products, nappies, shampoo and laundry detergent.
“Parents make sacrifices, they skip meals… The cost of living crisis has turned into the cost of surviving the crisis.”
Melissa Holmes, chief operating officer of the Addi Road Community Organization, said food demand in Camperdown and Marrickville had grown 30 percent year-on-year since opening in 2016, with a 160 percent increase in demand for free food stamps by 2021 and 2022 .
The organization — which also offers free fruits, vegetables, and bread for those who spend more than $5 — estimates that 50 percent of its customers are employed.
“We are seeing more and more people higher up in the classroom… coming out with very specific expenses that prevent them from affording food. There is no room for people’s finances right now,” she said.
The charity receives no government funding and is struggling to keep up with demand.
Every week since Wesley Mission started providing emergency relief in 2020, the 40 appointments are fully booked within 48 hours.
Wesley Mission CEO Reverend Stu Cameron said the charity was forced to turn down 50 per cent of referrals seeking support over the past calendar year.
“The sad reality is that the demand for emergency aid far exceeds the supply,” he said.
“(We’ve) never seen people work so hard to make ends meet.”
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