’It’s good to be good’: How Australians can get involved with the Feed Appeal

With millions around the country facing a food crisis this year, behavioural experts expect to see Australians’ step up to help those in need.

And there is a compelling added reason to stand up and do your bit – helping others is good for you.

The long-lasting impacts of natural disasters and Covid have contributed to a staggering 47 per cent increase over 12 months in Australians needing food relief.

As the annual Feed Appeal seeks to raise enough money for three million meals, social researcher Mark McCrindle says philanthropy – giving time, skills and/or money to improve the welfare of others – “comes naturally to Australians when we are faced with an obvious need”.

Any volunteer will attest the benefits flow both ways. Yannick van Hierden, a behaviour change scientist at Griffith University, says “acting in accordance with the natural tendency to help others gives the giver an increased sense of purpose and meaning”.

He points to research including the long-range Harvard Study of Adult Development, that compares happiness levels over a lifetime.

“This study shows that the people who are healthiest and happiest are (those) who have developed meaningful, positive relationships,” van Hierden says.

“It’s a natural effect that comes with giving, helping or sharing … and that should be a fundamental underpinning. If you want to experience more happiness and meaning in your life.

He adds that “it is good to be good” because contributing to other people’s wellbeing by volunteering or donating makes us feel more connected, less lonely and more compassionate.

“That in turn also cultivates gratitude, because it makes you appreciate what you have and it teaches you to express gratitude when others help you.”

A volunteer throughout her adult life, caterer Crickette DerJeu gave her time and expertise to food rescue and meal delivery charity FareShare before becoming a staff member seven years ago. In her experience, delivering high quality meals brings “normality and dignity to people doing it tough … and the mental health benefit for volunteers is amazing as well”.

“It really warms my soul,” DerJeu says. “I’m giving back to the community and contributing to helping other people who are probably less fortunate than I am.”

She says volunteers and staff develop a much deeper understanding that being unable to put a family meal on the table can happen to anyone. “You’ll be volunteering next to people who have been in that situation as well,” she says.

“We have a lot of people who come back to volunteer at FareShare because they’ve actually received meals from us and they want to
give back to the community that has fed them.”

Australians can donate directly to the Feed Appeal or, throughout the month of June, can do their bit with a trip to Woolworths.

Customers there can round up their purchase in-store to support the Feed Appeal, with just 50 cents funding the equivalent of one meal.

Woolworths general manager for community Peter O’Sullivan says Covid-19 has impacted food security for millions of Australians for the first time.

“Prior to the pandemic, Australia was already seeing a year-on-year increase in the number of people not being able to put food on the table each day and needing to reach out to food relief agencies.

“The financial impact of 2020 exacerbated the issue and pushed even more Australians into food insecurity last year, totalling more than five million,” O’Sullivan says.

Help create three million meals for those in need by donating directly at Feed Appeal or by rounding up your purchase at Woolworths throughout June.

All Feed Appeal funds raised via Woolworths will be distributed to local food relief agencies in all states and territories, as either freshly prepared FareShare meals or grants for equipment like fridges, freezers, ovens and vans.

Just 50 cents provides the equivalent of one meal.

Feed Appeal is an annual fundraising initiative between FareShare and News Corp Australia.

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