The soaring cost of living has driven record demand for emergency food relief during the month of April, according to new data released by The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation.
“Skyrocketing food prices have had a dramatic impact on the poor and working-poor. So much so that an increasing number of them can no longer afford to put food on the table“, said CEO and founder of The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation, Rev. Bill Crews.
Record daily demand for emergency food relief
Over the four-day Easter period The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation gave 6,398 free meals to Sydneysiders who would otherwise have gone without. That amounts to almost 1,600 meals per day – more than at any time in the Foundation’s 36 year history.
“To put those figures into a practical context, on a single day we served more free meals to the poor than most restaurants serve to paying diners”, said Rev. Bill Crews.
To prepare those meals, each day The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation uses 200kg of meat, 150kg of rice and 150kg vegetables.
Record 40,000 meals served in April
In the month of April a total of 40,150 free meals were distributed to the poor. This is another record high, up 53% on pre-pandemic levels.
“Demand has been increasingly driven by those living in western Sydney – often the working poor”, said Rev. Bill Crews. “The people we see in these locations typically have no cash reserves to help cushion the impact of rising food prices.”
More food vans and dine-in venues
To meet the growing demand for emergency food relief, The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation has had to dramatically expand its service footprint away from its Ashfield headquarters.
The Foundation has added two new food vans to its fleet. These food vans now distribute hot, nutritious meals 7-days a week from 14 different locations across Sydney including Lakemba, Campsie, Warwick Farm, Bidwill and Woolloomooloo.
Also, The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation has opened two new, free dine-in restaurants for the poor. One is located in Liverpool and the other in Campbelltown. That’s in addition to their iconic Loaves & Fishes Free Restaurant in Ashfield. These new venues have increased the sit-down capacity by 162% on pre-pandemic levels.
Expanded kitchen facilities
As well as providing additional emergency food distribution locations, The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation has been forced to enlarge its kitchen facilities.
The industrial kitchen already turned out hundreds of thousands of meals every year, but according to Rev. Crews it needs to be expanded to meet the growing demand.
Cost of living impacting the poor
In light of the increase in demand for emergency food relief, Rev. Bill Crews has called on all political parties to better prioritise support for the poor and working-poor.
“During the election campaign I’ve heard a lot of promises that will benefit those who, arguably, don’t need support. I only hope our leaders see the value in providing more care to those Australians who have slipped into poverty.”
Rev. Bill Crews will be available for interview on location at The Rev. Bill Crews Foundation in Ashfield, or by telephone.