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More than just food: The everyday essentials people need to thrive

The cost of living crisis has put into sharp relief the need in Australian communities, with many people doing it tough. In fact, recent research from Good360 Australia[1] found more than one in four Australians say they are ‘doing it tougher now than ever before and are struggling to pay for the essentials’.

But what are ‘the essentials’ and what do people need to thrive and live a fulfilling life?

At Good360, we connect charities, disadvantaged schools and society’s most vulnerable with businesses willing to donate unsold or surplus goods and services. Our mission is to ensure excess goods and services flow to people in need, rather than going to waste, with research estimating that a staggering $2.5 billion of unsold goods are being unnecessarily wasted each year[2].

Recognising that ‘the essentials’ are much more than just food, we connect items in four areas of impact: education, home, hygiene and play.

Just as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualisation) highlights the importance of addressing basic needs before pursuing higher aspirations, essentials for education, home, hygiene, and play are crucial for people and families to thrive.

Tools that enable a quality education 

Education is transformative for many, opening doors to opportunities and creating active and informed citizens. Full engagement in education also helps people gain essential skills and knowledge and empowers them to pursue their aspirations. Items such as stationery (notebooks, pens, pencils), books, pencil cases, textbooks, calculators, computers or tablets, and school bags are all vital for enabling this.

Essentials for creating a happy and stable home

A stable and secure home environment provides a sense of belonging, laying the groundwork for emotional and physical wellbeing. Beyond shelter, a nurturing home environment encompasses elements of comfort, privacy and stability. In this context, bedding (mattress, sheets, pillows, blankets), furniture (sofa, dining table, chairs), whitegoods, kitchen appliances and utensils, lighting and cleaning supplies are all vital.

Supplies for maintaining healthy hygiene

Maintaining hygiene is essential for overall health and wellbeing, so having access to personal hygiene products is really important. These essential items can include deodorant, soap and shampoo, sanitary and feminine hygiene products, toilet paper and tissues, laundry detergent, first aid and medical supplies.

Items and toys that support constructive play

Play and recreation are vital outlets for creativity, self-expression and social connection. Engaging in play also promotes mental and emotional resilience, fostering a sense of joy, fulfillment and belonging. Toys and items that support play such as building blocks (for constructive play), arts and crafts supplies (for creative play), sports and outdoor items (for active play), musical instruments, puzzles, board games and card games are all essential for supporting the development of our young people.

Everyone deserves to feel valued and included in society to strive towards fulfillment, happiness and growth in all areas of their lives. This is important for both the connective fabric of society, as well as our relationship with our planet.

Understanding the basic human needs beyond food, can help us to better understand what support people need to achieve self-sufficiency, so they can strive to operate at their best and contribute to a thriving community and society.

We know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs doesn’t follow a strict linear progression as individual needs change based on different life stages and circumstances, individuals may also have a different priority of needs at different times. Good360 provides essential support to individuals and families during all life stages and circumstances, helping 15,000 people every week with access to goods and playing a vital role in supporting the basic needs of communities. 

We partner with leading retailers to get surplus goods to where they can do the most good in the community. Since launching in 2015 we have worked with some of Australia’s leading retail brands to connect over 40 million brand-new items to four million people via our network of 4,000 registered charities and disadvantaged schools Australia-wide. The result is a Circle of Good that reduces need and waste in our communities at the same time so everyone benefits – from people to our planet.

The need for everyday essential items that support people in education, life at home, hygiene and play is at an all-time high in Australia. If you are a retailer, wholesaler or brand that has unsold goods that you want to donate for social impact in your local community please contact today.

[1] 27% – Online survey of 1,000 Australians conducted by PureProfile in February 2024 on behalf of Good360 Australia

[2] Report by Deloitte Access Economics (2022) commissioned by Good360 Australia


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