WA food charities are struggling to fill their pantries with fruits, veggies and kitchen staples as grocery prices hit an all-time high.
The total cost of commonly purchased grocery items has jumped from an average of $90.26 in 2019 to $141.68 in 2022 – a 57 per cent increase, according to The West Australian.
Seeds of Hope volunteer Katie Malloy said that fresh vegetables have doubled in price compared to this time last year.
“Rent has increased in price so more people find themselves on the streets, and the more people there are on the streets, the more mouths we need to fill with our limited stock,” Ms Malloy said.
“We rely mainly on donations, and as donations come in at a steady pace, we struggle to buy our usual stock that have each gone up by a few dollars.
“It definitely takes a toll on an organisation buying 50 lettuces a week if the price has doubled over the past year.”
According to Ms Malloy, the demand for food hampers has risen since COVID-19 hit in 2020, but has been “the highest” in the past few months.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed that people’s pay increased an average of 2.3 per cent annually, meaning the cost of goods is taking up any extra pay.
Shelter WA CEO Michelle Mackenzie said supply chain issues and reduced farming are some of the main causes of the price increase.
“Food rescue charities are being slapped with the price increase and there’s nothing we can do except try our best to feed hungry mouths,” Ms Mackenzie said.
“Worker shortage for farming and trucking is another reason for this problem, and volunteers are paying out of their own pockets for each food hamper grocery haul.
“We have residents with jobs and mortgages turning to charities for food, and some charities don’t know how much longer they can keep their doors open.”
The Consumer Price Index rose 5.1 per cent over the twelve months to the March 2022 quarter, the highest it has been since March 2009.