On the 2nd of July, Meals on Wheels SA CEO, Sharyn Broer joined a panel of food insecurity experts for a webinar, hosted by the Don Dunstan Foundation.

The webinar, How to Foster Food Security in Uncertain Times addressed the issue of food insecurity in South Australia (and indeed more broadly) and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our access to affordable, nutritious, food.

Sharyn was joined by Professor Rachel Ankeny (School of Humanities, University of Adelaide), Greg Pattinson (CEO, Foodbank South Australia) and Catherine Sayer, (CEO, Food South Australia).

As a panellist, Sharyn told of how the pandemic has impacted Meals on Wheels, including a rise in food insecurity among the South Australian community and an increased demand for services, while facing the challenge of reduced volunteer participation during the isolation periods.

She says the key takeaway from the webinar was that while SA produces more than enough food for our population, the problem lies in how we distribute it.

“Helping all citizens to access affordable, healthy food is key,” she says.

Sharyn says COVID-19 has put food security in sharp focus.

“Many more people than usual didn’t have enough money to buy food, while others experienced empty supermarket shelves and rationing for the first time.”

“People who rely on others to prepare their meals, either because they have a functional impairment or lack basic cooking skills or equipment, couldn’t go out for a cheap meal. Online shopping deliveries were suspended for a while, too.”

She says Meals on Wheels SA is critical in improving food security, especially for older people. 

“We want to share our resources and skills in partnership with other organisations, using the current momentum to make long-term improvements to food security in SA.”

The webinar was sponsored by Meals on Wheels SA and the Department of Human Services, with support from event partner Stretton Institute and Foundation major partners University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

You can watch the webinar on the Don Dunstan Foundation YouTube channel, here.