Australians are skipping meals and can't afford essential healthcare amid the cost of living crisis, new research has revealed.
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The Salvation Army has found that after paying for essentials such as food and housing, vulnerable Australians are left with less than $6 a day to spend or save.
The charity surveyed more than 1700 people it has helped in the past 12 months.
It found nine in 10 respondents are struggling to afford basic living necessities.
Meanwhile three-quarters of households with children are living below the poverty line, leaving parents desperate to stay afloat.
One in five are unable to provide their child with three meals a day.
"I eat the leftover food from my child's meal, if there is any, or I just don't eat," one parent said.
"I wait at the school car park from drop-off until pick-up if I'm short on fuel. I have sold most of my own clothing to buy my children clothes."
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Salvation Army Secretary for Mission Captain Stuart Glover said the need to support vulnerable community members was greater than ever before.
"We have seen a significant increase in everyday Australians who have fallen through the cracks over the last year," he said.
"In many instances, we are seeing those who used to volunteer or donate money and time to help the Salvos now coming to us for help."
Captain Glover urged people to support the Red Shield Appeal with its aim to raise $37 million to help fund more than 2000 services nationwide.
"For many Australians who are doing it tough, the Salvos are often their last line of defence," he said.
"We will always be there to give them a hand, whatever their circumstances may be, so that nobody has to struggle alone."
To donate or to access support visit salvationarmy.org.au or call 13 72 58.
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