Food Crisis

What is food insecurity?  

People experience food insecurity when they cannot regularly afford to buy enough healthy food. 

We know that people skip meals to pay their rent or bills. Parents and carers skip meals so children or people in their care can eat. People even go hungry so they can feed their pets.  

FACT   Last year, our Soup Vans served 600,000 meals to hungry Victorians.
Demand doubled during the pandemic and is still rising.


There has been a big rise in first-time callers to our helpline, up 145% in recent years.


See the story behind our new Soup Van hub in Melbourne.

Victorians are going hungry 

The price of fresh food and groceries has gone up a lot due to food scarcity. The pandemic, the war in Ukraine and floods in Australia have all contributed. Global food security is an issue for everyone. 

We know that the rising cost of living is having a big impact on people on low incomes. People you may know are going hungry. 

What happens to your health when you go hungry for long periods? 

Dietician at Co-health Community Health Centre in Fitzroy Katrina Doljanin says: “I have worked with a lot of people in food insecurity over 20 years, but there has definitely been an increase recently. And people who already were experiencing it are having a harder time. 

Katrina regularly refers people she sees to Vinnies’ soup van services. “When you are not able to eat meals from across the five food groups, you develop deficiencies. Skipping meals leads to low mood and things like ‘brain fog’. People also develop anxiety when they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”  

What is Vinnies’ solution to food insecurity? 

Vinnies is unique because we offer professional services along with help from volunteers. Programs include: 

  • Soup vans: Volunteers, called ‘vannies’ deliver meals, hampers, rough sleeper packs and friendship for people experiencing poverty and homelessness in inner and outer Melbourne.  
  • Conferences: Our volunteer groups (known as conferences) have an active presence throughout Victoria. Our volunteers provide people with basics and food vouchers for fresh food, such as vegetables, fruit and meat. 
  • No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS): People on low incomes can access no-interest credit to pay for household goods, freeing up other income for groceries. 
  • VincentCare: Ozanam House, run by our housing specialists VincentCare, provides thousands of free meals and a barista coffee service for people experiencing hardship and homelessness through the O Café.

What’s our approach to hunger and health? 

We believe no one should go hungry. The first thing our volunteers do is to make sure people have food, then we work out how else we can help them. 

Our Soup Van meals provide a range of healthy options from the five food groups. 

FACT   91% of people calling our welfare line are asking for food.


There has been a big rise in first-time callers to our helpline, up 145% in recent years. Read our story below on Gerry who had to ask for food for the first time in his life last year.  

Donate to Vinnies Soup Van Appeal

When Gerry says ‘I’m so grateful to Vinnies’, he means he’s so grateful to our supporters. We couldn’t help all the people we do without them. Our Soup Vans are on the road every night of the year, rain, hail, shine - or pandemic. Our volunteers provide food and friendship for people across Victoria every day. 

DONATE   Your donation can help a family put food on the table tonight, donate here.