By Paul O'Rourke

Unemployed Tasmanians and families with children are the largest sectors needing emergency food support, according to a new survey of more than 100 agencies receiving Loaves and Fishes support.

Surprisingly, 36% of those presenting to agencies for help have jobs, while 77% of recipients are families with children.

Almost a third of agencies (107) responded to the Loaves and Fishes survey in July and August.

Eighty-five percent of unemployed food recipients said their Centrelink payments were insufficient to meet food needs, while 72% of total respondents said health issues, including mental health challenges, meant they needed food relief. An unexpected bill and insufficient wages also forced many people to need food.

Agencies gave Loaves and Fishes 4.5 out of 5 for its overall performance. Ninety-seven percent of agencies said they were satisfied or very satisfied with the quality of food from Loaves and Fishes.

The survey showed Loaves and Fishes was the largest contributor to agencies' food relief needs, with 23% of respondents saying Loaves and Fishes was the only supplier of food.

Most agencies said they wanted more food and a larger variety of meals, fresh produce, meat, and dairy to meet increasing demand due to cost-of-living increases.