A food bank has welcomed the same woman every weekday for nearly two straight years in a shocking illustration of food poverty in Britain.
The mum-of-three comes to the charity Feedo Needo in Birmingham in the evenings to pick up food for her children’s school meals the next day.
This is despite her husband working full-time as a lorry driver. While some firms have offered executive-level salaries for drivers amid Britain’s shortage, it means the family doesn’t bring in enough money to feed themselves.
Feedo Needo project manager Rafa Ahmed told Birmingham Live: ‘The parents come every day Monday to Thursday just before 6pm to collect sandwiches, bread, fruit, salad and snacks for their children’s school dinners the next day.
‘Then on Fridays, they come to collect a larger food parcel that we put together for them for the whole week. It contains things like rice, milk, pasta, tins, packet meals, condiments and fruit for the children.’
She added: ‘For them it’s become part of their daily routine. We have friendly staff and they’ve built up a rapport with them because they see them every day.
‘They are a low income household and the children are very young. The dad works full-time as a lorry driver but he doesn’t earn enough to feed the family, it’s not enough to keep the family going.
‘He goes to work but they’re still having to rely on the food bank really heavily. This is the reality for some families. It’s something they’ve come to rely on, even though they shouldn’t have to.’
Rafa said the charity has been feeding increasing numbers of working parents and those who were made redundant.
It works to reduce homelessness and says there are 20,000 homeless people in Birmingham.
Nationally, food banks have seen a 66% increase in people needing help since October 3 when the government ended the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit payments. This follows an estimated 88% rise last year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Food bank usage has rocketed in the decade since the Conservatives took power. In 2009/2010, the year before David Cameron won the election in 2010, the Trussell Trust provided 40,898 emergency three-day food parcels.
In 2020/21, approximately 2.5 million parcels were given out.
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