Thousands of emergency food hampers are being distributed to international students struggling to access supplies in the COVID-19 pandemic, with the NSW Government teaming up with Foodbank to supply groceries and pantry staples.
NSW Treasury Deputy Secretary Trade and Global NSW Jenny West said the 62,500 food hampers come from part of $4.1 million allocated to Foodbank to deliver food security to vulnerable NSW communities.
“Two in five charities have seen a rise in the number of international students asking for help in accessing food since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to the Foodbank Hunger Report 2020,” Ms West said.
Each hamper is valued at $80 and packed with student favourites like instant meals and coffee, plus pantry staples such as breakfast cereal, long-life milk, rice and sauces.
“International education is a crucial sector for our State and our international students contribute so much to NSW metro and regional communities through volunteering and employment, sharing skills and talent, building research links, and fostering innovation and entrepreneurialism.”
Foodbank expects to see a strong uptake, urging international students to accept help after its report found three in five people don’t seek support for the food relief they need.
“International students were amongst the first to feel the impact of COVID-19,” Foodbank NSW & ACT Chief Officer, John Robertson said.
“We need to continue to ensure that anyone who is struggling to put a meal on the table knows they can get ongoing support through Foodbank and our distribution partners.”
To Macquarie University Student Siddhant Acharya, the hampers are a reminder he isn’t alone despite being thousands of kilometres from his home in India.
“The hampers have been a lifeline for the international student community and benefitted thousands of my peers,” the Master of Media and Communication student said.
“I am incredibly grateful for the ongoing support of the NSW Government.”
The first hampers left the Foodbank warehouse in time for Christmas 2020.
Students can access a hamper by completing this online form, or calling Foodbank NSW & ACT on (02) 9756 3099 to find their closest distribution centre.
Current Distribution Partners
Australian Catholic University (Blacktown; North Sydney; Strathfield)
Charles Sturt University (Bathurst; Orange; Port Macquarie)
TAFE NSW (Kingswood; Tighes Hill; Ultimo; Wollongong)
Addison Road Centre (Marrickville)
Macquarie University (North Ryde)
Uniting Harris Community Centre (Ultimo)
University of New England (Armidale)
University of Sydney (Sydney)
University of Wollongong (Wollongong)
Youth with a Mission (Newcastle)
This adds to $100,000 for international student food hampers announced in August and a broader $20 million international student welfare support package from May.