The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Peter Jensen says government funding is not the only answer to overcoming poverty in Australia.
The church's community organisation Anglicare has used the lead up to winter to release research showing many low income households in New South Wales and the ACT are skipping meals to pay rent and heating bills.
The organisation says the most confronting finding is that seven per cent of children do not eat for entire days and some parents are raiding garbage bins to find food.
Archbishop Jensen says he understands why people feel they can scrimp on groceries for the sake of a warm home.
"I can understand. I think I would make the same choices if I was in the same position."
He says while government funding for emergency relief services will help, people need to be more aware of how their neighbours are coping.
Anglicare says 98 per cent of low income households accessing their emergency relief services were not sure where their next meal was coming from or were unable to provide food for their family on a regular basis.
95 per cent of families surveyed in NSW and the ACT had run out of food in the last three months because of unexpected expenses such as medical bills, car repairs, large power bills or sudden rent increases.
Anglicare spokeswoman Sue King says a lack of food can have other consequences.
"Parents are keeping their children home from school because they're embarrassed about the fact that their children don't have lunch to take to school," she said.
"The children get bullied if they're seen as the poor kid at school. Those kids then can't invite children home either, they can't invite their friends home so things become incredibly disconnected and for those people there's an incredible sense of isolation."
Anglicare Sydney today launched its Winter Appeal, which it hopes will raise $1.9 million for emergency relief programs.