Foodbank WA is seeing an alarming surge in people reaching out for help as mortgage holders face their 11th rate hike and the cost of groceries continues to climb. Regional branches are becoming overwhelmed with logistical issues including transportation and increased foot traffic as inflation continues to grow and more West Australians face financial stress. The Albany Foodbank Branch is expected to provide more meals than last year’s total of 313,088 to families, individuals and students in a vulnerable state. Supported by local business Edge Planning & Property, Foodbank has seen an increase of 56 per cent in demand in comparison to the same quarter last year. Foodbank WA CEO Kata O’Hara has seen people put their hand up for help for the first time. “There is a significant need for food relief in our regional towns and communities,” she said. “Often, people tell us they’re skipping meals so they can feed their kids, and we’ve seen a rise in demand for our services in the last two to three years. “With the rising cost of living affecting most facets of everyday life, we know this will continue for some time.” More than half of those on minimum wage have less than $14 after bills. “In a State as wealthy as ours, with regions that produce an abundance of fruit and vegetables, there’s no reason for anyone to go hungry,” Ms O’Hara said.