Now working part-time, volunteers part-time. Cares what happens to UK society full-time
Food bank use is at record high says the headlines. Trussell Trust released figures recently that show that 1,109,309 three day parcels were handed out. The primary reasons are shown below.
For nearly 3 years now I’ve been tweeting about food banks and the efforts made by local communities to support them. For almost 3 years I have shown examples of families who have needed them, some with dramatic stories that normally involve the DWP or another Government department not doing their job or being overly officious. For all that time I have tried not to become one of their statistics but now it has reached a point where I feel I have no choice.
Mine is not a headline grabbing story. Rather it is one of slowly getting into more debt, by a few pounds here and there each week. Since I went off JSA I have struggled to have enough income to pay all my bills, with any small issues, like the washing machine needing replacing last month, becoming a real problem. Bit by bit, week by week I have slid more into debt until this week I reached a crisis point and I knew I had to get help.
I contacted my housing association and this morning someone came to see me and issued a voucher to the food bank. The food bank does not open until Tuesday afternoon so I have a few days to wait. This afternoon the electric ran out so I am sat here without food and in the dark, feeling very alone. It reminds me very much of when I was sanctioned. The memories of that experience keep appearing in my mind and it’s not very nice.
The last few weeks have been especially difficult. A delayed payment meant the bank charged me for direct debits I could not honour. That landed me with an unauthorised overdraft and even more charges. To add to that the credit card company and BT have added late fees. I’ve spoken to the bank explaining my situation, but they will not remove the fees. They have, however, stopped any more charges. But those charges and overdraft have meant I cannot buy electric or food.
Being anonymous on social media I am faceless to most of those who read what I share, but behind that mask I am just a person like everyone else. I put on a front that tells people I am okay, when in fact quite the opposite is true. I don’t like to bother people with these troubles as I know all too well that they have their own challenges to cope with. But in not sharing how things really are all I am doing is making it harder for myself.
Am I alone in thinking how odd it is that we have all this technology, all these forms of communication, but at the same time loneliness is increasing and more people are feeling isolated. In our homes we routinely have technology to entertain and communicate, yet millions do not have enough money for food, heating or energy.
Having to use a food bank – having to admit that things are not well and I need help – is really something I don’t want to do. It feels like something in me has died today and I feel very low. I don’t want to be in this place but I am struggling. My pride has taken a really hammering.
Truth be known I don’t want to have to visit the food bank at all, but waiting for them to open is worse. I don’t want to sit without food until Tuesday afternoon. I’ve done this before when I was sanctioned and my mental health collapsed. So to stop that happening again I would ask for your help.
Somewhere on the page is a donate button for Paypal. It was put there for another purpose but it can equally be used to help me out of this problem. If you’re able to help I’d really appreciate it – it will help in ways that are difficult to express. I don’t need a lot, just enough to buy electric and some food. Any small amount will help. Thanks.
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