Leeds family’s desperate struggle to survive

Leeds North Foodbank volunteer Pat Stone offers support to a client.
Leeds North Foodbank volunteer Pat Stone offers support to a client.
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At her lowest point mum-of-two Lily had just 65 pence in her bank account.

Her daughter and son both needed meals putting on the table but the family had found themselves trapped in a cycle of despair.

She even considered taking out a payday loan just to help make ends meet.

Her husband was made redundant from his job but they were soon forced to pay for initial costs when he found employment with a new business.

These costs, for items such as petrol and a suit, left the family on a financial knife-edge.

Lily said: “We were literally to the point where we had 62p in the bank.

“We were overdrawn on everything and we just had no chance of feeding the children.

“My husband had just come off benefits after being made redundant and we were at the point where we didn’t even have anything in our cupboard - not even a packet of rice.”

The family were forced to turn to North Leeds Foodbank to help them feed their children until payday.

And to Lily and her family the emergency food parcel, which is designed to last for three days, proved to be a vital lifeline for them.

She said: “At first the thought of turning to a foodbank made me feel ashamed as I didn’t want to go.

“When I stepped through the doors it was just magical.

“It was a lifeline and we wouldn’t have been able to do without it.

“We would have been forced to beg, borrow or steal just to put food on the table.

“It just goes to show that you can have everything one day but then lose everything the next day.

“People can work hard all their lives and they end up coming here for help.

“You just don’t think you will find yourself in that situation.

Lily has visited the foodbank twice - but her vouchers only entitle the family to just three visits.

And she warned:“Don’t judge anyone unless you have been in the depths where you can’t feed your children.

“There is so much stigma surrounding foodbanks but this could happen to anyone from any background who just cannot make it through the week.”

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