Morecambe Bay Foodbank has shared some of the heartbreaking stories of the people who rely on its donations to get by.
The stories come as the Trussell Trust released its State of Hunger report - a detailed look at foodbank use across the country.
Last year, Morecambe Bay Foodbank gave out 7,019 three day food parcels.
Here are some of the heartbreaking stories which came from the foodbank’s “listener’s meet”, run by volunteers, which takes place each week.
“I saw a young mum this week who had under £100 to live off per month for everything once she’d paid her rent. She was so sweet. I thought how hard it would be to live in her shoes.”
“I saw a gentleman who had been suffering from mental health problems but he’d been turned down for ESA after his PIP assessment so he was literally destitute. I had to give him a cold box (a box that clients can eat with no cooking) and I wondered what he would do.”
“Seeing the young mums always makes me sad. They try so hard to make things work and they always do their best for their kids. It shouldn’t be like this for the kids.”
“I saw a couple who were unwell. The gentleman was undergoing chemotherapy and he’d been sanctioned by the DWP for not attending an appointment, but he’d been at the hospital. It was cold and they couldn’t afford heating either. It made me feel really cross.”
“I once saw a guy who had just been released from prison and he said that he’d been given £46 on release. He didn’t have anything to cook with. How are people supposed to cope on that kind of money? It takes 5 weeks to get UC and he didn’t have a phone or an internet connection. It’s crazy.”
“I saw a lovely young girl who didn’t have ID so she couldn’t get benefits. It costs £95 for a passport and if you want a drivers license you have to learn to drive. She didn’t have any bills in her name or anything so she ended up in the foodbank.”
“One fella came in and while we were packing his food away, he said “Where does this food come from?” I explained that it was all donated by people in supermarkets. He said “So each thing here was donated by a different person? Wow.” It was nice to think like that - that each parcel we give out is pieced together by all these people who have donated a few things each. It’s the best kind of collective activity.”
“I saw a lady who had worked all her life and had been turned down for disability benefits after an accident at work. She was so upset that she had paid in all that time, and couldn’t get help when she needed it.”
“A mum came in the other day and she had to sit down when she got here. It turned out she hadn’t eaten anything for three days. She’d been feeding the kids, but not herself.”
“I once saw a client just before Christmas who had escaped from a domestic violence situation and she had nothing but what she was wearing, and three kids with her. I’ve never forgotten it. I hope things turned out ok for her.”
“People really love their pets. I’m always glad we can give out pet food as I know it makes a big difference to clients. Same with hygiene stuff. People hate having to ask, but giving out things like sanitary towels and shampoo helps to restore people’s dignity a bit when they aren’t getting by.”
“Never judge. You never know who you’ll meet in the Foodbank - it could be any of us. Empathy is about realising that a lot of life comes down to good and bad luck.”