Missed opportunity in charitable food sector!

Amanda Devine, Amanda Douglas-Watson, Ros Sambell, Tanya LAWLIS

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Background/Aims: Nutrition education and improving food literacy skills has been identified as a sustainable strategy for improving individual food security. This study identifies the nutrition education needs of organisations, staff, volunteers and consumers in the charitable organisations in metropolitan Perth.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design, used an online questionnaire to survey 179 charitable organisations of whom 18% (n = 32) responded.
Results: 'Welfare/homeless services' (n = 13, 41%) were the primary service provider of food relief; emergency food parcels were the most common food service offered (n = 13, 41%) followed by cooking classes 31% (n = 10). The main recipients of food relief were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People (n = 25, 78%); low income adults (n = 25, 78%); homeless adults (n = 21, 66%); asylum seekers, migrants or refugees (n = 20, 63%). Over 46% (n = 11-13) of paid staff and 67% (n = 14-18) of volunteers had not received training in food safety and handling, cooking, nutrition and food budgeting. Challenges to implementation of food literacy programs included limited cooking skills (n = 9, 28%) and poor nutrition knowledge (n = 15, 47%) of clients, insufficient funds to buy food (n = 9, 28%) and the lack of functional kitchen and resources available within the organisation (n = 7, 22%).
Conclusions: Improved food literacy of staff and volunteers is needed if charitable organisations are to effectively provide basic nutrition, budgeting and cooking skills to clients and address food security levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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