Today, a tin of beans in Morrison’s sent me over the edge.

And left me like this;

I HATE what I look like when I cry but I’m posting this awful picture of myself because tomorrow I’ll feel better and I need to be reminded of how I felt today, how I feel now, in bed with a glass of wine, 8 hours later and still fucking crying.

I had a full on blubbing, hysterical episode in the supermarket. It was so bad that I had to call my friendly copper  to come and help me and it all started because of a can of cheap, shit beans.

I was using the last of the money donated to me for food parcels. I had £45 and I needed to feed a young teenage boy who I’d fed before. I knew his situation, I knew it was shit but it was nothing new to me.

I’m not saying that I’ve become hardened to all the poverty and the sadness and the humiliation that people ar experiencing out there but I haven’t cried for a couple of  years about it. As long as I knew I was helping, even if only for a while, then I could cope.

I didn’t cry when a little boy brought his granny into my husband’s jeweller’s  shop to sell her earrings to buy food.

I didn’t cry when a nasty bastard of a father slapped his 10 year  old son with full, fat-man force because he took a bread roll from me.

I didn’t cry when the little girl cried because I gave her pizza to eat that night (the pizza was from the Lidl bins).

But today, probably because I’ve been feeling a bit poorly with a cold and also because I’m withdrawing from the food aid stuff and I’m feeling guilty as hell about it,  I lost it.

As I took the can of shit beans from the shelf to add them to all the other shit  budget food products (and toothpaste at 25p a tube, soap at 20p) in the trolley I thought “If this was my Joe and he was starving, he would be gipping trying to eat beans”. Joe has Aspergers and cannot ever put a baked bean in his mouth. It’s a texture thing. Too much slime.

I thought about this poor teenager being forced to eat something he didn’t like because he was starving through no fault of his own and it just destroyed me. I looked at my trolley full of the cheapest stuff and wanted to tip it over and fill it with steak and asparagus and cream and that bloody pomegranate juice that costs more than a bottle of wine.

I only had £45 to spend and I’d been carefully adding everything up in my head until this point but when I started crying I couldn’t   remember where I’d got to and didn’t know how much I had left to finish the rest of the shopping.

Typically, it seemed that everyone I had every known was in Morrison’s  this morning. To everyone who stopped and hugged me and listened while I tried to explain what the hell had happened to reduce me to the wreck that I was, I say one great big THANK YOU.

And I say thank you to Mike who waited at the checkout to see what the bill came to and then gave me his discount card to get the total down to £45.

I say thank you to my copper who helped me at the check out, packed the stuff into the car, assured me that things would get better. She also said that the Tories absolutely couldn’t get back in again because they would have free reign to destroy the police service. She truly believes that Labour will win the general election so she was trying to  be positive.  

And finally, thank you to Ged, my very long suffering husband who let me collapse in his arms and waited while it took me an age to be able to speak and assure him that none  of our children had died, I was crying about someone else’s child who was alive but starving.

Here’s the trolley full of shit. There are doughnuts and two packs of real butter, cheese and sausages and bacon but nowhere near enough protein for a teenager. There’s also a man-style shower gel because the thought of him being bullied for not washing his hair or not smelling nice  at school was too much. 

Do you know the worst thing? Even though this kid is visibility losing weight from his already skinny frame, he tried saying he was ok and didn’t need anything. This is what this society is doing to people – it’s making starving kids pretend they’re not so they don’t suffer the humiliation of other people knowing.   

169 thoughts on “Today, a tin of beans in Morrison’s sent me over the edge.

  1. This broke my heart too. All this invisible suffering, that is so easy for people to ignore. I wish I was as positive as the “copper” that there will be changes soon…. I can hope though

    • Please don’t hope. Vote. And remind others to use their vote too. Apologies if that sounds patronising, it’s not meant like that. Turnout at the election WILL make the difference.

      • Yes, it will Gibby. If everybody voted – in their own interests – not a single Tory MP could get in. Remember that.

        • Not sure that everyone voting in their own interests would do it. Surely it needs to be voting in the interests of the vulnerable. If I paid an extra 5% in tax, it wouldn’t be in my interests in material terms.

          • I think what Jenifer means is that unless you are extremely rich and can afford to pay your own medical bills etc, are never likely to find yourself in need of social security or rely on state pension, it is really not in your interest to vote Tory.

          • I have been a Lib Dem councill for 8 years and watched as the Tories have systematically destroyed our local services, not to mention what they do nationally. If everyone voted for the Candidate most likely to keep a Tory out it may be enough to prevent a total social and community breakdown that will give the young, the old and the vulnerable a chance of a life.

          • in one way it would because if there are less desperate people life is better for all of us

          • And just what WOULD it mean? What couldn’t you buy with those 5ps? What will you need to spend it on? (and it won’t be enough) Health care, social care, higher insurance premiums because of a disappearing police force? Rubbish disposal, materials for your children or grandchildren’s education? The list is endless if a Conservative Government is returned to power.

          • I can’t agree with that argument. Isn’t it patently obvious that a healthy, well nourished population which is motivated to be involved in its own development is something that repays the money invested in it many times over.

        • I have been there, I know how it is, however there are a lot of people who selfish, not struggling and don’t care

          • Me as well when Thatcher was in power. ,Oh the nights I cried myself to sleep worrying how I was going to feed my family and that was on a wage , pitiful one at that
            I never want to see them have control of Scotland again ever
            Please vote them out for the whole of Britain’s sake

          • If the Scots join the rest of us labour voters in the UK we WILL get rid of the Tories. The biggest risk is because the Scots have abandoned labour and gone to their own. Come back, please! We have a chance at a propper socialist Government for the first time in years. New Labour did not count as a labour Government.

          • @Phil, sadly that’s not true. Scotland has 59 MPs out of the 650 in Westminster (Wales has 40, Northern Ireland 18). London has 73. In recent history Scotland has influenced the outcome of a general election once. In 1974. A hung parliament that resulted in a minority Labour government – a second general election was held just 8 months later, and Scotland didn’t influence the outcome of that one. For every other general election in the past 50 years Scotland could have stayed in bed and it would have made no difference at all. Sorry.

      • Have been tweeting this … it’s simply awful … so grateful for all that you have done Gill.

        Get all these people to VOTE !!

        They can get an NI number in ten days, then register. Only 30% voted in local elections. That’s why we have a Tory govt.

        • Vulnerable people don’t register to vote. Not because they don’t care or don’t know how, but because they fear being found by people they don’t want to meet again. Whether because of unpaid and unaffordable debts, previous abusive relationships, demands for protection or other issues that simply don’t feature in many people’s lives, the consequences of becoming visible and traceable through an entry on the electoral register are too great to risk.

          • You can have your address withheld, I moved due to domestic violence and explained why I wanted to be registered but not showing my address, its very easy to do

        • Please get your facts right. People have to be British Citizens to vote. You can get a national insurance number if you have a Biometric Residence Permit but this allows you to work it does not give you British Citizenship.

    • Sobbing like you at the thought So heartening to know there are people out there like you. Keep up the good work. I am a teacher and see these children on a daily basis. Struggling to get by. We must stop this cruelty now. Get the Tories out on the 8th June.

    • What a CROCK OF SHIT this heart rendering tail of woe this is……. Do not get me wrong I fully understand the meaning of hard times and have had the shame (when I worked for the DWP) of informing people on benefits who had their money stopped to go to food banks (we where instructed to do this). But at the end of the day being able to buy the branded products dose not mean that you are getting any thing better than in the shops own label. I know people who work in the food packing and distribution industry……….. ASDAs smart price salted nuts for example are exactly the same that go into other well known branded packaging. Again ASDAs own Wheat Bix cereal is exactly the same as the well known brand. I may not be talking about Morrisons but the parallel is exactly the same. And while you are crying into your wine you should remember that there are people out there millions just like me that can only afford the shitty tins of beans.

      • Thanks for that Bob. I wasn’t actually crying about myself or my own child. You do realise that don’t you? It would appear from your comment that you’ve misunderstood me.

        • WHAT general election? There might not be another for years. And things will be just as bad under Labour. £45 sounds like a lot of food money to me. More to the point, where is this teenager’s carer/parents if he’s still at school? I found this a bit self serving tbh

          • I totally under that you found this a self indulgent post. I worried that it would come across like that but then I posted it anyway because it was the truth as I felt it in all my self indulgent heartbreak on that day. In answer to your questions;

            1) This post was published before the last general election.
            2) £45 would be a lot of money if it was for a week’s shopping, or even two weeks but this was the last £45 ever that I would have to buy food for this child. I would never have the money again.

            3) As I have said in other comments, the child was no longer with his parents, through no fault of his own, and that’s as much as I’m willing to say.

            PS. Anger is a really good tool. Use it wisely.

  2. May everybodies gods bless you Gill….I cried when I read your post. Its a cruel, evil world where the rich have so much and the poorest and most vulnerable in society are reduced to the level of the boy you speak of. The ” I’m all right, Jack” attitude in this country sickens me, the words I have heard so many times ” They are scammers, no-one needs to starve or beg” turn me cold, as do ” They will probably only spend it on heroin”which is a platitude people also spout. What the hell….if only 1in 10 of them truly need it, I will continue to give just to know that the 1 who needs it has recieved a little. I don’t have the answers, and dread the General Election as there is so much dissention throughout the country and the apathy and selfishness results in low turn outs when things could be so different. Thank every one’s gods for Angels like you. Please accept a virtual hug from a woman you will probably never meet, who admires and will continue to try to emulate you. x

    • Unfortunately this is happening to lots of people today and everyday. What angers me is Our Prime Minister is too ready to send millions abroad every advert is for the public to help the needy abroad This country is in just as much need. It’s NHS is falling apart. I’m fed up of hearing it no hearing them. Why don’t they take a pay cut ha I think not!!

      • Why do they give huge tax cuts to the Corps? Because they work on the boards of such companies and they no doubt have shares!! Please do not think the small change sent abroad would make any real difference. That is a distraction. Please don’t fall for that old chestnut!

  3. I’ve had my share of dark days too, and this story has always been one to which I’ve returned in times of solace. These times will pass, and better days are always just waiting at the edge of our vision… peace, love and positivity.

  4. A brilliant piece and brought tears to my eyes, though they are not strangers there. I’ve wept so often for the abandoned and distressed, for ‘my’ people, and for the transition of the UK into a place I no longer recognize. Thank you for putting this into words so well.

  5. Yet the people of this country keep voting Tory. Just remember to blame them all. Every last, snivelling selfish one of them. If you voted Tory or plan to vote Tory – this is YOUR FAULT.

    • It’s easy to blame the Tory party for everything, but the world has changed so much in the last few decades. Austerity sucks and brexit is going to drag us back to the good old days people seem so desperate to get to (which were really shit and not like heartbeat of you were poor).

      • Both of those ARE the fault of the Tory Party. Austerity is an ideology they are choosing to use for political ends. It was the Tories who opted for a Referendum.

        • Correct Tiggy – the Tories have chosen the Austerity path – Jeremy Corbyn will do now what Attlee did – he’ll rebuild this country for the working man and woman and make it a fairer society.

          • Austerity is only in place as a policy to hide the fact the the Tory government have added over £2TRILLION to the national debt! So where’s that money going? Is the deficit under control? Or are they lying in order to hide their greed and hatred of the poor?!!

          • Jeremy Corbyn could do this, if the Labour Party members allow him to. They need to stop stabbing him in the back, forget about personal feelings they may, or may not, have against him and remember the people they are supposed to represent. The 1.5 million supporters who voted overwhelmingly for Corbyn as leader, unlike May who was never voted in as leader. Labour are the only ones to help the vulnerable, the poorer working class. Drop the attitude Labour MPs, get behind your leader and do something for the people of this Country before Conservatives bring us all to our knees.

          • I agree with you Tiggy, we all need to stand together like they did in the war days

    • This is nonsense. The Tories gave inky been in power for 2 years. Prior to that it was a Lib Dem Coalition and Labour had a long run prior to that. People have short memories. The need for food banks and the increased poverty is because of Labour’s bad management over many years. If they get in again in the basis of so many promises ( where will the money come from?) we’ll end up in an even bigger mess in 5 or 10 years time with proper austerity and rationing. The people will begin to know what real poverty for the nation feels like. Vote Tory and then lobby them to look after the poorest of lobby them before you vote Tory but for goodness sake trust them with the economy rather than Labour. Go for a Macron not a Le Penn.

      • You really do talk rubbish Anne, if you remember the Labour Party Oh sorry Blair’s labour party (note small capitals) was actually another Conservative Party in disguise. He was the one who destroyed this country along with these Tory bastards now. He should be in jail along with all the rest of the Conservative Members of Parliament who have cheated and lied and will now get off the hook cos Mrs DisMay called this election. She nor they are for Brexit, and no we don’t want Brexit (disgusting word) just because it will take us back 50 years or whatever. We who voted for the split with Europe did so because we believe we can do better out from under German’y foot (again)

  6. I’m crying too, but I do so understand you, that is why as a disabled pensioner I buy a supermarket crate full of basics for my local food bank every month. I do what I can because I have brought four kids up on little more than basic benefits and there were no food banks then, there wasn’t even a Tory government through a big part of it. Unfortunately there will always be some people who are poor, it is our response to those people that is important. We should stop blaming and be prepared to help. If only the better placed realised what a difference a small act of kindness makes to the lives of people who are struggling

    • I agree with you x x I’m yet to vote and surely won’t be voting tory as I’m single parent with 5 kids 15 and under down to age 6 and I suffer copd lung disease so can’t work I try everything I can to put food on the table for my kids but the government has screwed the benefit system up so badly that it’s either such little money they give you to survive or that’s if you can get a claim out of them at all what this world/country has come to is a disgrace too many families in poverty… I go days poss weeks without food to make sure my kids eat hospital told me I was under weight but we do what we gotta do to survive I’ve even gave food to homeless before as I can’t stand seeing people hungry hope this gets sorted soon it’s causing too many health issues all over the country

      • Bless you Chantelle. Your own personal story is also heartbreaking, having to go days, weeks without food. I wish I could help all the hungry people in this country such as yourself. If you were a neighbour or a friend I would as I have for a couple of colleagues and neighbours before. Thinking of you and all the other people suffering

  7. Thanks for this, made me think. A little kindness is worth such a lot, and thank God it comes from out of nowhere when you least expect it.

  8. Added my tears to your tears. What a crappy world we are living in. Big Society my arse! All we can do is give a damn, help when we can, and try to vote the Tories out!

  9. Jeremy Corbyn is the first truly labour/socialist leader for years! Anyone who has been whinging about how “socialist tories” had taken over the party, should be rejoicing and pushing the message that Britain CAN return to a fairer, happier country once again. Where everyone can have a right to expect a decent ” life” instead of the absolute crap existence being experienced by most citizens! So do what’s neede on 8th June, and VOTE LABOUR INTO WESTMINSTER!! And let’s have a country to be proud of again

  10. Ive only skimmed over this but if you cried that much why didnt you dig in and buy him what he needs if you could afford it?

    • Ali, I’ve fed this child before and will feed him again out of my own money. But when you’re faced with a situation where you can buy a trolley load of cheap shit or a third of that for the same price then you have to make that choice. This time I used money that had been donated. When I came home and told my husband (eventually, because I couldn’t talk about it properly til this morning) he said, “I’ll buy him steak and asparagus and anything you want to buy him.” What my husband doesn’t know (because we’re not rich) is that he’s been doing that out of his earnings for years.

      • You do not have to explain yourself. Just by collecting donations, shopping and delivering the food you are doing far more than most others. We all need to step up and do more. The first thing we need to do is connect with people, there is strength in numbers

      • How dare people judge you. I have been feeling sad every day knowing it doesn’t have to be like this, it’s becoming normalised, poverty, foodbanks, homelessness. I pray Labour win, but have this sick feeling they won’t, people are so brainwashed by the media, I feel like I’m going to go mad! I fear for my beautiful daughters future. Take care

      • My heart broke reading this – bless you for doing this. I brought up 4 kids, 3 of them hungry boys who ate me out of house and home. I’ll happily send you a donation or order a shop for him if you get in touch with me. What this government has done to people kills me. xxx

      • And you also don’t have to re-explain yourself to people who only skim-read your post which was beautifully written, clear, from the heart and needed no further explanation xx

    • She is doing the best she can for the young man which is more than can be said for you its easy to criticise via keyboard I’m surprised you even bothered to reply.

    • I think you are brilliant and how dare someone ask why you didn’t use your own money, it’s nothing to do with them. I give to food bank on monthly DD but also try to buy Toilettries etc to donate. People have no idea what others are going through, there could any of us go. Keep it up.

    • Perhaps if you read the full story Ali you would see that she has done this for years and doesn’t have to explain anything to anybody, sounds like a Tory voter doesn’t like to see people helping others

      • Ali the Tories don’t like it when people help each other, they are selfish and inhumane. Divide and conquer is their motto and it’s working. I do hope and pray that Jeremy Corbyn and Labour win

    • Really, Ali? You think that this is what this article is about? Shame on you. Gill – thank you – I’m inspired x

  11. Thank you for writing this. It is one of the most moving things I have read lately, and that’s saying something. Shame on our government for putting people through this. Bless you for the work you have done. It isn’t you who,should be feeling guilty.

  12. My husband has told me that if the people of this Country with all the terrible things that are happening to the ordinary people in this Country vote in the Conservatives he is going to give up on Politics because it will prove that all the people who are managing are thinking that there alright why should we worry and if they can’t see further than the end of their nose, they deserve all that will happen to this Country under Maggie May and her cohorts!

  13. what what a beautiful caring lady and police officer and so thoughtful and kind to this gentleman , by buying him food , i was in tears reading this , this is so heartbreaking and this should not be happening in society

  14. This could well be the last GE I vote in. I seem to have spent my entire adult life trying to get people to stand together and look after one another in one way or another, with varying degrees of success. If the tories win this time, I’m done. I’m done because if people will vote against not only their own best interests, but also in the full knowledge that their vote will actively harm those worse off than themselves, then it’s proof that I have been wasting my time. My mental health is simply not strong enough to keep swimming against the stream.

    • I will vote Greens if they field a candidate. But never Tory or Lib Dem, and not a blairite Labour either, as I see their attack on Corbyn as being one of the primary reasons, a lot of people are voting Tory. And Blair telling Labour voters to vote Tory the other day, knowing full well that this will compound the problems the poor, the sick and the destitute are facing.

      • Oh, Marie, please only vote Green if they have a chance of winning your seat. If you already have a Tory MP, grit your teeth and vote for the party that came second last time whoever it was, except UKIP!). Otherwise you will support the return of your Tory. If you have a ‘Blairite’ Labour member, please ngrit your teeth even tighter and vote Labour. Remember you are voting for policies, not the person. When Labour wins those Tory clones will support the policies that got them their seats.

        • I know your right with your advice vote even if it means the labour MP traitors keep their jobs but you know if there disgusting tactics let the Conservatives in I will never vote for a labour MP again . Maybe the traitors HAVE a vested interest in conservative policies .

      • Vote tactically. Vote for the best candidate to unseat the Conservative in your constituency. Any vote. That doesn’t do this will be a vote allowing g the Conservatives back into power. If that happens , the suffering will be increased enournously.

    • Please don’t give up. I am in the same position as you. My depression has been severely aggravated by the state of the country for the poor and working class but I will fight on as much s I possibly can to get people to open their eyes. I’m doing it for my children.
      If Tories aren’t voted out this time there will be uproar and I’m certain we will not have to wait another 5 years for another general election.

      • The Tories cheated in the last election with their so called battle bus and election fraud. The election result should have been null and void

        • Sometimes I wonder what would happen if people just stop giving charity? It should not be about whether or not a person wants to give. ALL should give via taxes!

          Any of you Tory voters could fall from your Ivory towers. STOP and think about that. Such arrogance.

  15. This reduced me to tears too – don’t feel bad about those tears – you have done nothing wrong – you epitomise the struggle between the working classes – ie most of us Joe Soaps – and these vile Tories. If you or your man are in a Union please go to them for help – they should give you support , and please – just know there are many invisible people out here sending our love. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  16. I also wept when I read your story and may I say…what a wonderful human being you are,if only there were more like you,hopefully life will get better,maybe not straight away but eventually, especially if everybody votes for labour or at least not for the Tories,so keep smiling and keep faith,you will be rewarded for your goodness,love,peace and happiness to you and your family,Kellie xx

  17. It’s comforting to know that some people still get emotional over the suffering of others. Lately it seems as though compassion is perceived as a foolish and embarrassing flaw, rather than the thing that makes us human. In town the other day I saw a guy march out of his burger shop to confront a rough sleeper sitting by his doorway. I thought he was going to ask him to move on, but he was giving him a burger. I need stories like this to keep me from becoming too cynical.

  18. What you do is beautiful and kind we can all learn from it. I do help where u can but always feel guilty and that I should do more. I hate how the government and society as a whole have let so many people down. I have grown up on the negative side and have seen the way people are treated and it makes me so angry. This world needs more people like you, it is amazing how much difference the simplest and kindest actions can make and the imp

  19. God bless Joe you and mike I volunteer at two food banks and know what you mean Ive been in tears too but the sense of relief when you know you’ve really helped someone

  20. Pingback: Today, a tin of beans in Morrison’s sent me over the edge. | Gill Watson | Britain Isn't Eating

  21. Gill, all of you.

    If Corbyn doesn’t win. And I think it’s pretty likely he won’t. Come to Scotland, all of you : come to Scotland.

    • James, this wasn’t about my poverty. This child I was buying food for was a Police Cadet and his officer was the person who told me he was starving and visibly losing weight by the week. I’ve filled a hut in town for years with food rescued from Lidl and this boy was one of a team of Police Cadets who volunteered for me. He spent hours going through all the instore bins, 3 nights a week to rescue the good fruit and veg from the rotting. It was a while before we realised he was going hungry (and another one of the cadets) and it killed me that he’d been doing that to pass on the food to other people while starving himself.

      • My eyes have been opened. Thank you for the heads up. I guess my one vote that I thought didn’t matter, now does. I’m sorry you were reduced to tears but it helped send out a more powerful message x

        • Every vote matters especially for kids like this who are to young to vote and have any say in the awful things that this government is doing to them. Thank you so much. Drag all your friends and neighbours out to vote to. Paris has made the right choice, now it’s up to us.

    • What a sad, ignorant and unnecessarily foul-mouthed response to a heart-breakingly typical story of life in what was formerly “Great” Britain. What Gill and thousands like her across the country are doing is noble, selfless and tragically – necessary. It takes a lot to get me angry but your shockingly arrogant and self compassionless answer (along with Ali’s comment a few posts above) have done so. Gill – thank you and be proud. Let’s hope there will be no need for any further tears after June 8th and we get back to a caring, considerate and people-based society that works for all, on all levels rather than the trickle-up austerity hell of the Tories. Before anyone votes for the Conservatives, please remember exactly what it is they want to conserve!

      • The Tories cheated in the last election with their so called battle bus and election fraud. The election result should have been null and void

  22. Maybe this will raise peoples awareness to why so many Sick / Disabled / Unemployed people are overweight and unhealthy .. it has NOTHING at all to do with over-eating .. it DOES however have to do with eating all the wrong 99% Fat 1% meat, cheap ass all buggery food you can find for pennies – Food HAS to last 2 weeks+, so no way in hell can you buy anything fresh, Only the most preserved unhealthy shit will do! … I was diagnosed with Asperger’s 2 years ago at 41 years old – Imagine being told You’re Fine to work for 26 yearsby the D.W.P, while all the time knowing there’s something not right … but meh … I’ve had to suffer this exact same bullshit as above since I was old enough to work 20+ years!, Never having enough money to live any form of meaning full life. People have Never had enough money to live on from JSA payments or ESA payments, they barely cover your bills, then you have to buy the nastiest crap available to live on … But, I digress … If the Tories get in once more it will lead to a whole load of deaths.

    • Carl there have been many deaths caused by the DWP 10000,600 people died within 6 weeks of their benefits cut off because they were declared fit for work from 2011

  23. We have a rich and disgracefully unconsiderate government who. Don,t care about the poor and hungry whom they have forced to become dependant on charity. Why can,t they see the wrong in their selfish behaviour.? Please vote forMr Corbyn, he,s the only person with compassion and a heart. God bless him!

  24. I’ve been living on the edge & praying for ends to meet but find it radically liberating. Let us be grateful for every small blessing & cultivate a mind of faith. That filled trolley would look like Christmas to some people on this planet! God bless X

  25. This made me cry, just as I cry pretty much on a daily basis when I hear similar stories or watch TV programmes about Junior Doctors etc. Over the past few years, I’ve cried through anger, frustration, upset and sheer desperation so many times and yet I’m personally in the best position I’ve been in my whole adult life. I’m now earning a good wage as a teacher, both of us now work full time, our children are at uni (clocking up massive student debts) and for us, life is better then it was all the way through our children’s lives…we relied on tax credits and ended up in debt just ‘getting by’ so I know we would have had to rely on food banks if we had been trying to raise our children during austerity. If I hadn’t trained to be a teacher, we would definitely be there with the other families who can’t afford to eat.

    However, despite being in a good position myself, I’m not selfish. I don’t want to be part of a society where people sit back and watch the £s in their bank accounts get higher and higher whilst 1 million people rely on food banks, whilst 300,000 children don’t have their own beds, whilst the NHS is bought to its knees in order to line private companies pockets, whilst police are spread so thinly they can’t actually respond to a call about teens offering children drugs in a local park (rural Devon!), whilst children are having grammar terms drilled into them purely for a test… I could go on and on but the tears will start again. It’s disgusting!

    This has to be our time to stand up and make a change. Another 5 years of this will break the UK surely?

    In the mean time, those of that can will continue to make donations to the food banks and do our bit whilst those in their ivory towers, that are getting richer by the minute, sit counting the £s rolling in.

  26. Hey, I used to be on £40 or so food budget a month – it’s doable but cans and processed food are the most expensive way to feed anyone. Can I help in any way?

    Where I come from poverty is not unusual but people cook, and that’s how they survive. A bag of potatoes, rice, dried pasta and dry lentils can get you through a month, and they don’t cost as much. :(

    • The thing is in the UK food cooking skills are almost none existent amongst people and especially poorer people. Any cooking in the UK is for fancy expensive stuff and cakes. But I agree cooking from scratch is the way to make every penny last. But £40 isn’t much these days in the UK.

    • £40 is very doable, and can be nutritionally ok with care (and buy a cheap tub of multivits), though it is not particularly pleasant as it will get samey fast. Add rolled oats and dried split peas to your list. Take off pasta, as it is nutritionally poor, doesn’t go far, and not itself versatile. Porridge is great for filling up at breakfast, and a pea and bacon soup (bag of peas and a block of cooking bacon — though I note the trolley has sliced bacon in it — why exactly, if you’re on a budget?) is pure protein, pretty delicious, and cheap as it would last a good five meals.

      Eggs are great and cheap. No nutritional value to tinned spaghetti – but plenty in tinned beans (there is virtually no difference between Heinz beans and the cheapest supermarket beans – only the quantity of sauce and the fact that the sauce is less thick) – if cheap enough, this is one processed food that I’d say is ok value. Cup soups are a waste of money, and unhealthy. Ditto the hot dog sausages – expensive, high in salt, limited practicality: buy a tray of cheap beef mince instead, and add a tin of beans and some carrots (being about the cheapest veg available: good for bulk) – serve with lots of rice or over a potato – very filling, healthy, and will go a very long way.

      As for, “food cooking skills are almost none existent amongst people”, well … explain the basics, to go along with the food?

      • Hi Chris. There was a big sack of potatoes and 12 eggs in there plus oranges, bananas, cucumber and tomatoes. A big block of cheese and all those crap beans for cheap protein. I don’t know if he can cook. I worried buying the oil and the potatoes (bought because I thought he could have egg and chips for tea and bread with proper butter)because I didn’t know if he was savvy enough to boil a pan of oil without killing himself. I don’t even know if he has a pan.

        As for cooking skills, I’ve got budget cooking recipes that I give out and a budget cooking Facebook site for people with internet access and I’m always happy to answer questions and do loads of demos.

      • I know these comments about ‘that food can be better’ are well meaning but come from a place where I suspect they’ve never been hungry, poor or on benefits. I have, and am at the moment. Not desperate, thankfully, but I’ve gotten close.

        Thing is, I think people don’t realise a few things about cooking and ‘proper food’.

        Firstly: you might not have a fridge – I didn’t for months, or maybe they can’t afford the electricity to run one.

        You might not have the money to cook meals – yes stewing casserole or mince is cheap but needs to be cooked for a long time, as well as the ingredients and know-how. That costs a lot in fuel, vs the more expensive but instant hot dogs or cheap processed canned meals.

        And if you haven’t got access to a fridge or freezer, that meat, fresh veg, dairy, goes off fast – as I understand this was food for this child for the foreseeable future, not a few weeks. So meats will go rancid, milk will sour, cheese won’t last during warmer months even outside (yeah outside larder, done that, you learn how to be very Victorian!).

        You also need pans, cooking equipment, etc. It’s easy to say ‘that’s cheap’ but daunting if you don’t know where or can’t get donations…and it soon mounts up, even at my favourite shop, Poundland. If you have no money, buying a frying pan or a saucepan is impossible.

        And also, as George Orwell pointed out, sometimes you do want something quick and tasty, because if the rest of your life is bad, salt and sugar provide that hit. Is it good for the long term? No. But blander meals don’t pack that punch, and depress you more, and anyway you’re not thinking about the future, you’re thinking about tomorrow. Survival. Worrying about getting heart disease 20 years down the line when you can’t pay the rent or afford to eat today, well it’s not on the radar.

        Also we have food poverty – yes you can get nice green veg in Waitrose or Sainsbury’s, but that’s expensive. ALDI and Iceland are cheaper if you’re fortunate to have one, and indeed Morrissons – but very few people are lucky to have a local market with cheap fruit and veg anymore. Eating well/organic/GF or Free-From/vegan is a luxury some can’t afford….

        I’m lucky with the help from friends I do get, that I’ve never got to the rock bottom, but even I have dietary problems cos a lot of the cheaper foods have wheat in, which I can’t eat…I feel for the woman below talking about her vegetarian kids, but really at this cheap food level, there is little choice. Or food banks even less – you get what they have, and it takes a lot of skill to cook from random things you might not have the tools or expertise to work with…

        • Tim, you’re absolutely spot on there. Yes, some people could do with a few cookery skills – that’s why I did a few terms of budget cookery lessons but do you know what? Every person on my courses managed to teach me something about making things stretch too. And I always have to be aware that lots of homes I’m taking food to don’t have a cooker. Most have a microwave and some have camping stoves. At Christmas I did the ultimate cheapie Christmas dinner for BBC Manchester and put the recipes on my #BudgetCookingWithGillWatson Facebook page. The presenter asked why it was a stove top and microwave dinner and she was astounded when I said that was all some people had. I also only used a frying pan and a plastic jug because I know that people have very few utensils.

          I worried that this boy wouldn’t have a pan to make chips or he’d have a pan that was too small to hold hot oil and potatoes and would end up spilling hot oil on himself or setting fire to the house. But what if he didn’t even have a camping stove and I’d given him a great big sack of potatoes?

          I hope you’re ok for the future. Keep quoting “The Road to Wigan Pier”; I do when asked to speak in churches because I know there’ll always be someone thinking that the parents are boozing it up while starving their kids. I’ve also told people that it’s fine to put alcohol in my food collection box (in the past) as well as food if they believe that’s what the parents want. I know that if I could take that little kid into one of those churches with me or even stand him on a soap box at an election rally and tell his story and point to his sticking out ribs while he shakes with hunger beside me, NO-ONE would ever question poverty again. But this is the best we can do at the moment, just keep telling and sharing the stories, both yours and mine and everyone else who has commented here, because we can’t humiliate kids by pointing at them. All the best Tim xxx

  27. My heart went out to you.
    I work at seahaven food bank.
    How times have changed.
    We have more visitors now than ever.
    Please bring back Labour .
    When ppl had respect and self esteem
    Instead of continuous struggle.
    I believe we as a country screwed up voting tory

  28. Today I read the top 20 richest people in Britain have increased their wealth by 35 Billion pounds in the past year .. Austerity measures and Tory policies are clearly working as intended

  29. Suggest you get one of the bigger trolleys next time and stack the food a bit more carefully otherwise it might get damaged and wasted which would be a shame.

  30. You have my utmost admiration that you are DOING something. Thank you. Your tears are not in vain. I have always meant to help at the food bank but now, reading this, now I WILL.

  31. Wow what an amazing woman you are, that boy is so lucky and so is everyone else you have helped. It’s people like you who deserve a medal and people like Teresa May who should care even half as much as you do and the country would be a better place. X

  32. This is so true for myself. My wife and I are struggling, but at least I have my pension. I have had to cut back on my charity donations and we now do what we can as volunteers, supporting people in distress in our local community. We meet people who are starving, who can only get Food Bank contributions on ‘one off’ basis.

    People whose disability and unemployment support is stopped because of ATOS cock-ups and the Housing Benefit stopped (By Wiltshire Council) because the benefit has stooped. People are now becoming homeless in out Town of Calne and it reflects the double whammy of living in a Tory County within a Tory dominated Nation.

    I was once able to effectively run my job as a Social Worker & Counsellor / Therapist, Run a Charitable / Voluntary Organisation, Act as Advocate in some of the more challenging cases and still put some money towards charities. The Local Authority of Wiltshire Bullied be for breaking the Silence andf eventually sacked me. They then targeted my small Charity that was helping individuals and families in difficulties and even attempted to attack my family, using a ‘Child Protection’ excuse.

    Eventually I defeated these creeps and I am now fit enough to claim unfair dismissal and to expose the abusive conduct of our Local Authority and re-join the Political System locally, where I an determined to expose the damage that is being done to overworked professionals and the poor sod in our community that are being treated worse than animals.

    I am now a Local Town Councillor and will be speaking my mind and seeking to go even further into politics at the highest level I can achieve. It is time for use to make a concerted stand against our largely ignorant and insensitive Political Leader at the local Level and at Central Government Level. The system is corupt and is now in Free Fall..

  33. The mass media have brainwashed people, my nice but dim neighbour is voting for the ones who will get rid of the immigrants because it’s their fault the NHS is failing, I couldn’t get through to him, so all I can do is put a vote in the right box to cancel his out. I’ve felt the humility of getting a food bank donation, I’ve felt the care that came with it from complete strangers who understood and didn’t judge me. I’m continuing to struggle against the odds with the little money I receive, while battling mental and physical health problems and fighting for my disabled daughter’s rights and needs. I’m scared, I have been scared since the tories stomped into power with their coalition and started their systematic trashing of the country, because I knew I would be in the firing line pretty quickly.

  34. I can relate to this too. When I was a Single Parent Father, I would eat toast so that my boys could have a proper meal. I’d ask them if I could have a spoonful of their pudding, (usually a value mousse or yoghurt from Kwik Save) because I couldnt afford desserts for 3 of us.

    Knowing that their absent Mother was spending more money on piercings and tattoos than I was spending on clothing. Knowing that she was out Night clubbing but wouldnt find the money to send out way so that the boys could have things that their mates had.

    Doing that same mental arithmatic as you trawl the aisles in the Supermarket looking for bargains. Distracting the Boys when the Icecream Van comes down the street. Praying that the latest pair of shoes might last longer than the last pair. Yep. Been there Gill Watson, done that too. Bless you for your strength x.

  35. It’s so sad. Myself and my partner both work. He works two badly paid jobs. We have been so broke it’s frightening. Laying in bed all night wondering if we were going to eat or pay the rent. I’ve always worked hard but through illness my wages took a huge hit, we took out loans to cover the deposit and moving costs when our old house was sold then the payments were crippling us.

    Anyway, I started a website with some ideas I found to make & save money at home. Might help someone in the same situation x

  36. I note that today the papers are on about how Labour and the Libs will raise taxes, whiel the Tories are promising everything – funded by what and how? Where will they get their doctors from if they can’t import them?

    The BBC ran some numbers on the Lib Dem’s tax promises. Someone on £15000 per year would pay an extra £33 in tax. The Tories have raised tax on insurance premiums in their time. Someone paying £500 per year on insurance is already paying £35 more in tax under them. But the Tories’ stealth tax costs everyone the same. So the poor feel it more! £35 is a lot more significant to someone on low income than it is to me.

    VAT has also risen from 15% to 20%.

    Big headline in the Telegraph – Labour promise high tax on people earning over £80,000. How many people will that affect? Yet it’s pushing the mantra “Vote Tory to pay less tax”.

    • I dont think anyone is expecting the Tories to cut tax this time around – Theresa May specifically refused to rule out upping either VAT, Income Tax or National Insurance and once brexit kicks in the economy is likely to face some challenges from the disruption.

      The reason people arent voting Labour this time around (in the face of a deeply unpopular conservative government) is because no one wants to face the prospect of Corbyn as PM, Abbot as home secretary and McDonnell in the Treasury.

      I certainly won’t be voting Tory this time around, however I cannot in good conscious put a man who has never had a position of authority in the course of a 30 year political career in charge of the entire country.

  37. Really refreshing read. Someone has to say it. Go Gill. I see the injustice and inhumanity of relative poverty everyday and sometimes just working where I do I have to just have a wander because I have those moments of sadness or of a deep sigh of stress leaking out of my body for another moment as I entertain somebody elses postition…and I’m just witnessing a schnippet of people’s lives. I’ve experienced being so poor that you’re preoccupied with optimising your spending or just downright f**king miserable because you’ve not seen your friends for weeks and can’t bare the idea of someone paying for you or judging your life as if you could be doing better and that somehow it must be mainly your fault. It’s an issue I wish upon noone when I control myself, but sometimes when I hear people talking about ‘making your own luck’ and rewarding ‘hard-work’ and having this punitive and heartless attitude towards perceived lazy people it makes my blood boil. I think ‘you know what’s really funny… that you’re potentially only a couple of steps away from rock bottom and yet still you think you are better than other people. Genuinely….F**k you.’

    • Not sure if you have dementia or some other issues matey! Your comments seemed to be about what you have experienced,and not about what should be done, for the poor and needy. I now live in Vancouver and have done for the last 15 years, i paid into National Insurance etc in blighty, and due to the unelected house of lazy bastards, when they can be bothered to turn up, i will be on the same pension, which has lost 100 pounds a time since i started to collect it, as our pensions are not index linked, till i’m a bag of dust. I get $27 dollars from the Canadian government, worth half what the pound is worth. Of course some things are cheaper here, but not that much, and we have food banks too. When i visited the UK at christmas last, i was appalled at the state of the place, the infrastructure, and the complete lack of the upkeep of anything. I will tell you one thing though, come polling day, the Tories will come around with the family limo to get the old ladies into the polling station, and that is the only time you’ll see them “Now one does know who one is voting for old lady don’t you?” um…Winston? “close old lady” The problem as i see it,( i have no rights, as i’ve been here too long), is putting a suit on a rag and bone man doesn’t make a ha’porth of difference, no matter that his heart is in the right place. The people that are doing very nicely, are going to vote the party in that will perpetuate the status quo, in other words the pigs will still be feeding from the Tory trough! Let’s face it they don’t give a monkies for you or your problems. Nope, i lived there for 55 years, and it never changes, why? because not enough people can be bothered to go and vote these nit wits out “oh doesn’t matter who gets in it will be the same” “My vote won’t count” Heard those sentiments before? that’s what you’re up against i’m afraid, and of course then you get the government you deserve, and continue to moan about! Furthermore i don’t know what the jocks are on about, their dole money comes from you, the tax payers of the country. Queen Teresa in waiting, has no hope of running a separate Scotland, as long as i have a hole in my bum. Rejoin the EU, in Scotland? yeah right, if you can cook the books as Spain Portugal and Italy did! Canadians are one of the countries that will extend a hand to the poor and needy, no-one bloody well starves here, even though some of us have little ourselves. I suppose if i had to shut up right now, my advice is tell your friends, neighbours, that smarmy get that comes round after your vote, that you ain’t going to stand for this shit anymore. I’m not afraid of anyone, and if the h8ters wanna have a pop bring it on baby! I’ll destroy you with facts. Let’s get these bloody people out, and get someone who actually gives a toss about the country and the people in it, in government. Hoping this makes some sense. regards from Canada!

  38. This makes me so angry… my husband has just died and I am alone in a big house but I can’t help anyone because I will lose my benefits and my house because I have a mortgage to pay. I hate it… really hate it

  39. It’s not ‘invisible’
    Suffering ….it’s very ‘visible’
    Unfortunately we as a society choose to ignore it! Those who think life is ‘ok’ choose to burry their heads in the ground and think there is more ‘these people’ can do to help their
    Selves. I have seen friends who have worked all their days lose their homes due to zero hour contracts – classed as working but having to choose between paying bills and collecting food from food banks. It’s absoloutly appalling. Hats of to this amazing lady for doing what she can and also for being brace enough to share her experience in the hope that we will all wake up! And to those who don’t vote….think of this child and consider the direct effect your apathy has on him and his chances in life!

  40. I am so pleased to read all these lovely messages supporting this lady,it helps to put things in perspective does’nt it,I too have been at the bottom,single parent 2 hungry boys but we got by,now a little better off and grateful for it,like many of you I can’t comprehend why folk will vote tory in the general election………surely some of them are surviving on benefits of some kind.
    Some will say we will always have the poor with us,WHY,when we are so rich as a nation but so divided,austerity is a word which is overused by tories and supporters,there is only austerity among the poor/sick/disabled and others..why folk who are reasonably well off vote tory is to make themselves feel superior or I’m alright jack,no thought for others,self first,self last and self inbetween.

    • Its a tricky one but you have to make the attempt to understand the mindset.

      I watched “on benefits” on channel four last night and it always has a mix of a really really left wing story (young working class lad, doing the right thing, raising his son alone etc) juxtaposed with a daily mail wet dream (bloke on health benefit, smoking like a chimney and spending all day every day down the pub), and there was a scene where the latter guy was at the pub where his two mates who both worked and they were basically moaned at him saying how come you get to sit around drinking all day, whereas we work long hard hours and cant afford to do what you do?

      Its examples like that which are divisive and fuel Tory style outlooks.

  41. Sorry, but £45 is easily enough for two people for one week. I tracked my (Morrison’s) food expenditure for over 18 months and it came to less than £40pw (which comprised plenty of fresh fruit and veg and regularly included wine – and very rarely ‘basics’ items).
    Not sure of the context of this story, but the (over 25) personal allowance plus child benefit plus child tax credit potentially allows for a weekly income of over £150pw (assuming housing costs and council tax are covered by their respective benefits – which I know isn’t always the case). Unless you run a car, it’s difficult to see how utilities and other routine costs (mine come in at £40-£50pw) leave you in the kind of abject (absolute) poverty that is being claimed here.
    Life on benefits is not comfortable – I know that from experience. But then, neither are you on starvation (or even nutritionally deficient) levels of income if you prioritise the right kind of food and are careful with your money.

    • Hi Martin. I think you may have misunderstood (probably because I wasn’t making myself clear enough). I was buying food for a boy who was one of my Police Cadet volunteers. He helped to sort through all the waste food at Lidl for me so I could fill a hut with free food every day for people to help themselves to. He wasn’t taking any himself and then I found out that he was in a terrible situation (that I can’t go into here) and there was no money to feed him. I’ve provided food for him before but this was the last of the donated money that I had and it was £45. This isn’t to last him for a week, or two weeks, it’s basically until he can leave school and get out of the shit situation that he’s in. He’s a little kid.

  42. I am from Scotland and I vote SNP. Many do not understand that this is one of the problems we are trying to eradicate. It is utterly unjust and dehumanising.

    Your heart is in the right place at least. I wish the opposition parties could work together to rid ourselves of these Tories. Scotland will never have enough MP’S to do it on her own, and that is just fact. The Government here mitigate for the financial repression in various ways ,but it can never be enough.
    The simple fact is that our brothers and sisters in England are bearing the brunt of this political philosophy, whereas together we could do so much more

  43. That trolley load of food looks more than the same quality of food that my wife and I eat in a week and we quite enjoy it. The description of Morrison’s food is unwarranted and could be regarded as snobbish.

  44. This nearly brought me to tears, I’m so fortunate, and my family urges me not to give to those who aren’t as fortunate as I am, because they worked so hard for everything they have, and think I should be as protectionist as they are, but I just can’t. When those around me aren’t doing as well, my heart goes out to them, and I give what I can. I have so much, and I don’t feel I deserve it. This brought me to the verge of tears, I’m fighting them now, but I can’t STAND the fact that the whole system of the economy and money and everything makes it so unequal for so many people. There isn’t a lack of food to go around, there isn’t a shortage of money in the developed world, the problem is capitalism, without compassion. I hope I see the collapse of it start within my lifetime, as it isn’t sustainable.

    My family had no knowhow in matters of money, it never made any sense to them. “Save, save save” was all anybody ever told me, but what’s the point of saving? Money today is worth more as goods and services, than a number in the bank is tomorrow. Sorry for the rant, I just struggle to understand how society benefits from people having insufficient resources to live when others have by far more than enough.

  45. unfortunately corbyns got a beard and is scruffy, the other lot know how to look good and usually have a big red bus i can get my head around

  46. In Scotland all all 5 – 8 year olds get meals and those whose parents who are poor get free school dinners, I am a teacher we noticed how these pupils lose weight during holidays, I think the dinning rooms should be open especially during the long summer break. While I appreciate the motives of those who run and donate to food banks I feel we are letting the government off the hook by solving a problem that they should be addressing. We as a country have regressed to the ‘Hungry 30s’

  47. This is so awful. So proud of you for speaking out.
    The only thing I don’t like is the ‘protein’ comment; you can get protein from vegetables! Oats have protein, as do peas! Meat is expensive for how little you get, and not necessary for health. The idea that we need lots of protein to be healthy is completely false too.
    You’re doing incredible work: keep going. Xxx much love

    • I’ve got a vegan daughter and a vegan Facebook page #EasyVeganShit so I have to use plant based protein all the time. The trouble is that when you’re buying food for someone you don’t know and as in this case, a child, it’s difficult to know what their limits are. I don’t know if he can cook, if he’s safe making chips, if he hates eggs. There was lots of bean protein in there but beans are what the poor always have to eat and I wanted to treat him. That’s why I wanted to give him a steak. I’ve got recipe booklets that I hand out with lentil stew and dumplings for 21p and a “Take away” leaflet of his to make a veggie curry and a separate rice dish baked in foil containers so it’s cheap and easy with no washing up. All the cheap stuff is on my #BudgetCookingWithGillWatson Facebook page too for people who have access to wifi. Thanks for reading, commenting and sharing. It means a hell of a lot to me and all the people who are struggling out there. Xx

  48. If we could just end the monetary systems that we all have to live under and go to a personal feedback system instead, this would end. Not a one of us would starve for lack of funds, or be homeless. It’s time to stand up and say we just aren’t going to do this anymore. #ENDMONEY

  49. Don’t feel bad about the Morrisons own brand stuff- a lot of it is great.
    I always had a trolley full of yellow stuff (thats the old colouring for the own brand).
    Things aren’t so tight now- but I still buy a lot of the own brand stuff as I prefer it- especially the beans! Some of the reasons people think they are yucky is just because they are used to a different taste- once you adjust to the difference- then actually other brands start to taste yucky.
    Good for you for helping those people.
    And thank you.

  50. All power to you, Gill – you’re doing a fantastic job there. I’m disabled and reliant on State benefits, but I have a project going where I grow vegetables for the local food bank. For the last three years I’ve been supplying them with spuds and tomatoes and this year, thanks to some hard-nosed saving for a cheap polytunnel, I’ve started supplying them with greenstuff as well. Earlier this year I sent them two lots of cabbage greens/Spring greens, using the “cut and come again” method. From the feedback I learned that the packages hardly hit the “help yourself” shelf before they were snapped up.

    Because of the limited mobility I do all my growing in 22cm pots and 50L tubs. Later this year, using this method, I expect to have a decent crop of runner beans, as well as swede and parsnips. Pak choi is easy to grow at 3 to a 22cm pot and it’s quick to mature.

    If your readers have a greenhouse, or even just a garden patch or balcony, this is a great way to support your local food bank, giving people condemned to dried and canned food diets the opportunity to add some vitamins and minerals to them. This is so important, especially for children. Vitamin K, for example, is essential to the healthy development and maintenance of bones, and it is abundant in the spuds, tomatoes and greens that I’ve mentioned.

    Keep up the good work, Gill, and don’t let the naysayers and trolls get to you.

    God bless. :-) xx

  51. In 1996 I was 16 and by myself in damp flat my social worker had sorted and had 36.15 a week to live on 10 on electric rest food it was hard but doable so no offence and yes I donate to food banks 45.00 is very doable microwave meals quid if not yet got cooking skills spaghetti bolinaise 40p tin tesco etc

    • Hi Adhask, you’re not the first person to comment that £45 should be enough for food for a week so I must have failed to explain properly. This wasn’t £45 for a week of food, this was the last £45 of money that I had to spend on this child (not MY child) who was permanently starving because he was in a situation where he had no control over money and was not with his parents. His situation won’t improve until he is old enough to leave school and hopefully get a job.

      Any of the people I feed would be overjoyed to have £45 per person for a week of shopping. It would seem a complete fortune to them. X

  52. Britain has more billionaires than ever in what equality campaigners said was a clear sign the UK economy is only working for the few at the top.

    There are now 134 billionaires based in the UK according to this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, 14 more than the previous highest total, as the super-rich reap the benefits of a “Brexit boom”. Fifteen years ago, there were 21.

    The annual rich list showed that the wealthiest 1,000 individuals and families in Britain have combined wealth of £658bn, up from £575bn last year, despite fears that the Brexit vote last June would plunge the economy into a fresh turmoil.

    • 134 billionaires based in this country? Oh my gosh! And we have homeless and hungry children?
      I do not believe for one minute that another government will make a difference… If all these supposed brains of the country stopped fighting amongst themselves and pointing fingers at one another and actually worked together to make it a better place then we would see improvements!
      I will not be giving anyone the power to decide what should be done with my money! Politicians are not poor they have their own agendas!
      Decide what you want to do with your life and who you want to help.
      If labour win .. Will we be going to war again?
      Power to the people!
      Life, love, peace xxx

    • Why do some people ie billionaires need so much money they can’t possibly spend it in their lifetime. There should be a redistribution of wealth among the people

  53. Thank you.

    You are a morally upright and decent human being, and it is only natural to feel sadness in such moments. I am glad you are not ashamed of your humanity and feel comfortable sharing it with the rest of us.

    If only kind, caring people like yourself would take on the burden of government, perhaps we might not be in such a terrible mess as we are today.

    • Let’s hope that very kind man Mr Corbyn gets in then. Don’t forget to vote this government out and thanks so much for reading, sharing and commenting on this x

  54. Don’t cry. Please. I have been in the position of taking charity to feed my children. I actually did get a ton of same old shit food (oats, oats, oats, pasta, more oats). I had many occasions where I had half what I needed to make a meal, like no milk for porridge, no sauce or anything to make sauce, to put on plain pasta. In my parcel was one tin of canned strawberries. The strawberries made me cry. I love canned strawberries. And jellies. Normally we don’t eat meat, but the foodbank ladies hadn’t understood that would normally mean no jelly… I gave the kids the jelly, and they loved it. Just the sense that they had something bright and fun and sweet made me cry again. I wished many times I hadn’t told the truth to the charity ladies, as lovely as they were. I wished I’d lied and pretended we eat everything going, because there was no protein in our parcels. We loved on parcels for 3 weeks solid. I wondered if there was protein in the jelly. I cried about the jelly also as it’s a meat product (gelatin- from cattle) and I knew I’d lost any right to make elective decisions for my family. I just had to keep them alive until I could parent them, for real, again. I never told them jelly isn’t vegetarian. These days I have to sometimes buy phenomenally expensive (and shit) veggie jellies, to keep up the appearance that I didn’t drop the ball, we never ate the thing they don’t want to eat, it was all fine. And given a choice between hungry, crying faces, denying them the fleeting happiness of a bit of artificial colour and sugar, or turning off a key part of myself and pretending not to know basic facts about ingredients, I am sure I picked the lesser evil. But still, it’s shit. In this hemisphere, it shouldn’t have to be a choice between eat meat, or don’t eat. The charity also gave me a little (not much) money as supermarket vouchers. That meant I could buy shit cheese with rennet in (also meat) and battery farmed eggs. Between my kids, and the calves and chickens, of course I loved the kids more, but again, not a decision I would take if not facing starvation. That’s not to say anyone else can’t eat what they like- it’s just to explain this is how I like to live, how I choose to live. Opting out of meat eating is not even an uncommon or unusual way to live at all in modern Europe, it’s simple in fact, normal, we all know at least one like me… But I couldn’t even do that for them. I couldn’t make my own decisions. I cried, and I cried, and I cried those 3 weeks. The third week was Christmas itself. The charity brought a turkey. We had turkey. I was petrified of injury, with the kids playing at the play-park all day and night and less than half the protein they needed. I couldn’t say no to the play-park. There was no hope of obtaining a TV, or being indoors anywhere but a bare home, with almost no toys (long story, but I had what I’d fitted around the legs of my children, into our tiny Ford Fiesta, and nothing more- most of the space was lost to saucepans, duvets, and the just-in-case tent). That year, charity bought their presents. They got puzzles, games, and “Princess stories for girls” (which also wouldn’t find house room in any other circumstances). One volunteer scoured her own wardrobe and gave me her own, used, designer handbag, so I would be able to hold my head up when my new job started, and not take the ratty, holey, stained one I had arrived at this place in my life with. Considerately- it wasn’t leather. But even if it had been, I was long since past caring. My identity was in bits on the floor, my choices meaningless. But we are alive. So that’s why you can’t cry. Because the legions of women and men who get food on the table for kids like mine, are saving lives. Children die in December if unfed for 3 weeks. They didn’t. Thank you. And please… do not cry.

    • I wish I could wrap my arms around you and give you a great big hug. I have the greatest respect for you for being vegetarian in the first place and for making sure that your kids are healthy on a (rightly) principled diet. My daughter is 16 and has been vegan for two years now and I completely respect and admire her decision.

      I also know how you panic about your kids getting enough protein as I’m forever rushing Zoë off to have blood tests every time she yawns or says she has growing pains. Being a respectful and responsible parent is a constant worry.

      I hope you never have to make those decisions again because it’s just not fair – not fair that ANYONE should have to accept a food parcel and not fair that anyone would have to make decisions against their ethics to survive. Xxxxxx

      PS I have a vegan Facebook cooking page #EasyVeganShit with lots of protein

  55. Yes your trolley and your story made me cry, but I’ll tell you what your humanity and kindness gave me hope. x

  56. This is so deeply heartbreaking. I started to weep when I read: “… I was crying about someone else’s child who was alive but starving.” Gill can I please send you some money to help buy the lad some food? Maybe he needs clothes too? I have a son too and the thought of a child going hungry is more than I can bear. Please email me – it’s included in this comment, right?

  57. so bloody sad, I started to cry too, where are you please? I can send some nice Riverford food or money.

  58. Food insecurity has become a bigger and bigger issue with food bank reliance becoming mainstream rather than the exception. As a charity who have run food banks since March 2013 we finally ripped up the referral forms [which can be seen as nothing more than power and control] and simply gave food to those who need it.
    However probably 50% of people who are in need will never use a food bank. Ever.
    So we have canvassed supermarkets and independents constantly until we’re now charity partners with Tesco and Morrisons, together with some local bakers.
    We have a simple scheme where we collect food which is good enough to eat but destined for landfill.
    We then simply lay all the food [bread,pastries,cakes,fruit,veg etc…] out on table and anybody at all can come along and buy a standard carrier bag for £1 – to a maximum of two per customer.
    Then – well – they simply help themselves!
    The results?
    Queues for over an hour each week.
    Dignity and choice for the customers.
    Those who will not use a food bank will use our pop-up shops – the £1 bag makes all the differences.
    The chance to pick food the customer actually likes.
    The skills of meal planning are brought back into play.
    The project is not ‘doing unto others’ it’s ‘sharing with the community’.
    We started in Felixstowe and now have a second pop-up in the town, new ones have opened in Leytonstone, Ipswich and plans are advanced for many more.
    We see this model as the only way back from food bank reliance to independent shopping.
    We want more people to start their own so that the food can be shared – if you’re interested please get in touch.
    Food banks now have absolutely no reason to hold onto food – there is enough to feed everybody.
    Oh and all those £1 sales we make? They go towards a local community cause chosen by the individual pop-up volunteers. What would be yours?
    Our is to employ a parish nurse who can attend the customers. We have £3k towards that target in just over a year.
    If you think it would be a good idea for your area we can put you in touch with the people who will donate food to you and share our model.

    • Hi Graham, I’m so glad you ripped up the referral system. I campaigned for Lidl to give their end of day produce to food aid ‘charities’ and until last month me and my volunteers were collecting masses of food 5 days a week from three stores. We filled a Hut Monday to Friday with food that people could take a carrier and help themselves to can read all about it here.

      We also took food to schools and nurseries, OAP centres – anywhere it was needed. It was always free to anyone as we knew (like you) that the way to get to everyone was to have no ‘prove yourselves poor’ rules. I knew the Foodbank system here wasn’t working and even had to give evidence against one who was supported by the county council (£26 funding per parcel) and was taking in money for their own directors while giving people a couple of quid worth of rotting food.

      Everyone got on board with the Hut in the end – local food businesses, people cooking and making meals to be taken to people who couldn’t cook, rallying round to get furniture and clothes ANYTHING that I needed for people.

      When you read the post in the link, you’ll see why I stopped and some other posts including the one I did yesterday expand on this.

      I think what you’re doing is amazing as I thought what WE did was amazing but when I saw public health stepping back from helping because of people like me, I had to stop. I never wanted to be part of the system. My place was to rage against the system and prove it wasn’t right and it wasn’t working. No one should profit from poverty.
      The people suffering need to stop accepting and do something to demand their dignity and their human rights. Xxx

      • Thanks Gill
        Your Hut project sounds fantastic and I’m so sorry it stopped.
        Like you we operate with a ‘spirit of generosity’ and absolutely no judgement. One supermarket will not give us food in case it goes to the ‘wrong people’….hmmmm
        To us there are ‘no wrong people’ – our customers cover the entire spectrum of society. Appearances mean nothing and we’ve heard enough back stories from very smart customers to know that there are some really brave, dignified people suffering in our country today.
        To change the system I think we have to encourage some mental gymnastics which allow generosity to overcome prejudices and the very natural judgments we all tend to make.

  59. Pingback: As foodbank use skyrockets, one activist has a message for Theresa May and the Tories : Evolve Politics – SUBSTRATUMS

  60. I have seen some utter claptrap in my life but some of the comments posted on here are drivel. To simply say the Tories are the catalyst for all the ills of society is nonsense. Due to Labour’s sheer incompetence they presided over a financial crisis and systematically sought to de-regulate financial services in the UK which galvanised lenders to offer sub-prime lending. The benefit system even under the Tories is more than generous and should be cut further to those who are capable of working. Those looking for work with no income can be eligible for full housing benefit, CTAX benefit and either JSA/IS and a plethora of other benefits inc in the worst circumstances short-term council loans that will more than be enough to sustain a family. Most of the people on here take for face value someone pleading poverty yet I suspect those very people have time to pop in for a costa coffee and sustain a sky subscription. I know this because I am aware of those very individuals in very similar circs who do and pay for such things. Wake up and start a real debate about offering hope to those who want to strive to make society better and not wallow in some people’s self pity.

    • Thanks for that David. The majority of people I’ve helped up here have been working or pensioners. We have 1 in 4 kids living in poverty here (like the one in this post) and 85% are from working families.

  61. Ok I have read the comments and here goes!
    The UK always gets better when the TORIES are in fact, look at the history of the economy ……..
    Labour always gets us into debt FACT, so sweetheart I suggest you do your homework and go into the financials for the past 60 years and you will see the evidence.
    Money makes money and brings in money…again another hard fact.
    No I do not come from the silver spoon brigade, I come from a very ordinary family with honest values and the ability to work my a off to get where I am now.
    I am also a pensioner this year ….so again interesting times for me …I still have to work!

    • You’re a pensioner but you still have to work because the Tories have increased the pension age and robbed you of the pension you were entitled to.

      If you’ve read the comments then I’m sure I’ve already said in there that here in Pendle we have 1 in 4 kids in poverty and 85% of those are from working families. These are the families I’ve been feeding. Hardworking g people like you who can’t Fford to feed themselves and their children.

      As for the debt, you need to check your facts as this government has borrowed more than any other and kissed it up the wall while starving the NHS and its people.

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