When my father went missing, we did not have much money, all we had was the £500 he has secretly withdrawn and left on the side on the day he went missing.
He did have a pension and savings but due to his death being ruled a suicide, it took a long time to access the money, I’m talking many months.
My father was the only person in the family who worked. So we had this large house, a mortgage and bills to pay with money that was non-existent – we also had to find over £3000 for the funeral which luckily was supported by donations from friends.
Our council did not help us much other that give us a wad of £10 Asda vouchers. They were terrifying for me to use due to my anxiety not rendering them real money and may not be accepted. I was grateful we could still buy some food but it was not enough.
The community was so generous and immediately after my father went missing, people kept dropping of food. Sadly, after his funeral it stopped and we knew couldn’t rely on the kindness of others forever.
Luckily, the Salvation Army stepped in and hooked us up with a supply from the food bank. I remember the feeling I got when I had two large boxes to fill the cupboards with. I could cook real meals and even bake treats for the first time in weeks. I had eaten so much takeout and junk I just craved that warming feel of a homemade meal – there’s nothing like it.
You see the food bank did not only put food inside my family’s stomachs, they filled our hearts with hope and joy. This food that is so easily donated makes such a big impact on families like mine. It takes worry away from a financial aspect and allows us to feel much more grounded. Having access to the food bank allowed us to live our lives in a more normal and familiar way, despite our struggles.
For this, I say the food bank is doing a great service by preventing starvation but also, allowing a persons mental health to heal when they need it the most.
I have since donated food and intent to many more times. I politely ask that when you see a drop off point or have the chance, donate an item from your weekly shop or get your work/school to pitch in for a big loot!
A few moments of routing through your cupboards or some spare pennies on top of your usual grocery shop, can change lives.
One day you may need the food bank, it’s our duty to make sure that they keep running. The world is better with food banks existing!