The family mentioned below have given their permission for us to tell their story but have asked not to be identified and so we are calling the Mum J.
J and her family learnt to budget as best they could and and by the end of the month they had just enough to get to and from work and feed the family. But then something unexpected happened. The car failed its MOT and needed expensive repairs. This put them into debt, they got behind in their rent and couldn’t climb out of what felt like a hopeless situation. As any mother would, J prioritised feeding her children at the expense of her own health and well being and fell into sickness and depression. Thankfully, she went to her GP who referred her to the foodbank.
The foodbank in question is supported by regular donations from The Hygiene Bank. Therefore in addition to groceries, J was given essential toiletries for the whole family including, shampoo, body wash, toothbrushes, toothpaste, tampons, deodorant, shaving gel and razors. She was even given washing powder.
The Foodbank operations manager told us J was overwhelmed and cried with relief and shame. She admitted that the whole family had been washing their hair, their bodies and clothes in cheap washing up liquid. The same one that they used for the dishes. They cut the ends off tubes of toothpaste to eek out the last bits, her husband’s beard was a necessity and not a fashion choice and she herself was sometimes housebound when she had her period because she didn’t have enough money for tampons.
This situation is one that is happening all over the country. There are many reasons working families are finding themselves propelled into poverty; low wages, unexpected bills, high living costs, delays in benefit payments, illness and bereavement are just a few.