It’s a worrying time for everyone again this year in the build-up to Christmas as we are faced with the new Omicron variant.
On top of this there have been many stories flying around about food stocks running low, supply shortages and delays leaving many people worried they won’t be able to get all their favourite festive trimmings. All we want is to sit around a table with our loved ones, tucking into the perfect Christmas dinner, after so much separation last year.
In reality though, thousands of people will struggle to afford to put any food on the table at all, after perhaps losing a job or falling sick. Many will be forced to use a food bank just to survive. The Trussell Trust network of food banks gave out 2.5 million emergency food parcels last year and predicts its network will give out 7,000 a day this month.
I was in this situation in recent years after my marriage broke down and I lost my job. I had been a lecturer in fashion and textiles for 10 years, but one day it all just changed.
The concept of a food bank was alien to me and my family and never in my life had I dreamt I would need to visit one, but with no savings and two children to care for I had no other option.
I found it very hard to accept I would need to claim Universal Credit to survive. I felt guilty taking any benefits at all and felt grateful for the help I did receive. But the truth is it’s still a struggle to pay bills and buy enough food for a family on the amount of money you receive with your weekly benefits payment, and so we ended up at the food bank.