“The foodbank saved our lives.”
Suzanne and her family hit a crisis when she was made redundant from her job as a housing association advocacy officer, whilst at the same time her husband; a clinical nurse suffered a breakdown forcing him to leave work.
Their finances quickly plummeted and they lost their comfortable lifestyle just weeks before Suzanne was due to have a baby. They went from living in a suburban family home to a rundown concrete towerblock.
“Everything I knew and loved about our lives has gone. It’s frightening. I can’t sleep. I lie awake at night worrying that I’m not able to feed my family,” explains Suzanne.
Unfortunately, things then went from bad to worse. Suzanne and her husband couldn’t afford enough food and found themselves skipping meals to feed their two boys. Between them they lost eight stone in weight and Suzanne was too malnourished to breast feed her new baby.
Disastrously, a mistake by the benefits office then meant that sanctions were applied incorrectly and the family’s weekly income was halved, something which lasted for three months.
Suzanne said: “I’ve worked for 25 years and there I was in tears at the Jobcentre with a baby on my lap being told we’d only have £50 per week to live on.”
The local housing association was so concerned that they referred Suzanne and her family to her local foodbank for help. Suzanne says: “The foodbank was a lifesaver. I don’t know where we would be without them. It meant we could eat together as a family for the first time in months.”
Suzanne’s very grateful that the foodbank was available, helping not just with food, but by offering a listening ear: “The emotional support was almost as good as the food. It was just such a relief to finally speak to someone who cared and genuinely wanted to help. They gave us hope.”