We started our food bank session in bright spirits on Thursday last week. The sun was shining and for once our stock levels were high, following a concerted effort by volunteers to raise funds over the Bank Holiday weekend, but as the morning continued the brightness disappeared.
New registration interviews and conversations with guests revealed the bleak, distressing situations many people found themselves in.
A local family came in, struggling with bills and unable to feed the whole household without the help of the food bank. In addition to needing emergency food, their two teenage children had no beds. They’d outgrown their child-size beds and their parents simply couldn’t afford to replace them.
The eldest child was 15 and sleeping on the floor, despite being midway through exams. (Over the weekend, thanks to some quick work from the local community, we managed to find and deliver some beds.)
We also registered our eldest guest ever. Born in 1919, she’s lived under twenty prime ministers and now needs food aid for the first time in her life. A weekly delivery is arranged.
At the other end of the age scale, we register Eva, an 18-year-old who is suddenly homeless after a series of family disputes. She has nothing. She is tearful, exhausted and expresses her terror of spending another night on the streets. Thankfully our onsite Citizens Advice representative can refer Eva for emergency help.