Why I Needed To Use A Foodbank

Why I Needed To Use A Foodbank

Over the summer holidays, many thousands of families all over the UK will rely on foodbanks to help them feed their children. It’s the same every time the schools break up – families who can just about get by during term time with free school meals, find themselves on the breadline. The Trussell Trust, one of the UK’s largest foodbank providers says that the vast majority of the emergency food parcels which it gives out, go to families with children under the age of eleven.

If you could help by donating food, you can find collection points in most supermarkets. Even one packet or tin will help. You can also donate direct to your local foodbank by searching here:

Find your local foodbank

Importantly, if you need help to feed your children, please, don’t be afraid to ask. One MOLO Joanne, shared her experience of using a foodbank, and she experienced nothing but kindness as she was helped through a truly difficult time for her family. She shares her story here.

Find out how to get help from a foodbank for your family

Joanne’s story

So, there I was, 6 months pregnant, living in annex of my partner’s mother’s house, when after months of abuse she set on me in an unprovoked attack.  We were immediately made homeless and after a weekend of sofa surfing at friends’ houses we headed to the local council, and were are put up in emergency accommodation. It was full of alcoholics and drug addicts.  After about 6 weeks there, my partner finishec  work for the summer (he works in a school), and we headed back up north to my family for a month.

We then went back down south ready for him to go back to work, and to spend time with his daughters from a previous relationship and for me to give birth.  

Things basically became really tough for us from then.

We were moved into temporary emergency accommodation after my little boy was born, where we were for over a year, the council made an error in some help we should have had with our rent, so we ended up in arrears. This had a huge knock-on effect, my partner is the only one working and bill-paying, so this extra expense put a huge strain on us.

Just after Christmas I had to ask my health visitor for a food bank ticket.  My health visitor was lovely, she wrote me the ticket and explained where to go. The food bank was very close to my home, so I walked around with my little boy in his buggy. When we arrived a kind lady helped us in and was so lovely to me. The lady invited me over to sit at a table and was asking about my situation and made a fuss of my little boy. She wasn’t just prying, she advised me on people who may be able to help with our finances and even told me about a local play-group so I didn’t feel so isolated.  I was made a cup of tea and given a biscuit while the team packed up my food, I was asked whether there was anything we didn’t like, whether we preferred coffee or tea.

I was made to feel like I still had worth.

We were given enough cupboard goods to last us a month, which I was so grateful for. I dread to think what we would have done without the help of the food bank. We have had to go once more in a year, because my car broke down and it is the only way of getting my other half to work, so we had to fix it, and again we were left short. This time my housing officer at the council wrote me the ticket and we were again greeted with the same kindness. Other struggling people made a fuss of my son and you really do see all sorts of different people in the banks, it is a very neutral and calm atmosphere, run by the kindness of volunteers.  

I have worked all my life, but we are in a situation where we now have a low income and no family around to help us. We are just a normal family that is going through a tough time.

I urge people that can’t put food on their table to swallow their pride and ask for help. I give to food banks when I go shopping now, only when I can afford it, but every little helps.

Find your local foodbank

Find out how to get help from a foodbank for your family

Alison McGarragh-Murphy

Alison McGarragh-Murphy writes and edits stuff for The Motherload, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for five years. Follow Alison on Twitter @BertaFanta and on Facebook @ammblogs

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