Three day’s emergency food helped 599 people who visited Uckfield Foodbank in the last year.
The total is made up of 359 adults and 240 children.
Benefit delays (38%), low income (23%) and benefit changes (21%) were the main reasons for referral to the foodbank..
Last year local people donated more than ten tonnes of food and more than 70 volunteered. Local schools, businesses and faith groups have provided vital support to the foodbank, enabling it to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis.
What using a foodbank means to people
Qualified teacher and mother of two, Susan, said: “I have an 18-month-old son and an eight-year-old stepson, I work part time as a teacher and my husband has an insecure agency contract. There are times when he doesn’t get enough hours of work, and we really struggle to afford food and pay the bills. The foodbank meant we could put food on the table.”
A mum at a children’s holiday lunch club said that she was skipping meals to feed her children but couldn’t bring herself go to a foodbank, saying: “There are people out there more desperate than me. I’ve got a sofa to sell before I’ll go to the food bank,” she replied. “It’s a pride thing. You don’t want people to know you’re on benefits.”
Hard to pay rent and survive
Marcella, a former dental assistant who has chronic back pain and is recovering from a spinal operation, was helped by the foodbank recently and said: “It’s so hard to pay rent and survive at the moment. I have friends who are working minimum wage jobs who have had to go to foodbanks.
“People should not just be surviving, they should be able to live and have a life. I was less than surviving when I went to the foodbank.
“Going to a foodbank was very emotional for me, I felt a bit ashamed at not being able to support myself but they took the pressure off, they gave me advice and helped me to find a support worker.
“The foodbank gave me faith that there are people who understand and who you can trust. We need to stop judging people and listen to every individual and understand how they got into the situation.”
Everyday essentials are also provided
As well as providing emergency food, Uckfield foodbank provides essentials such as washing powder, nappies and hygiene products to families who are struggling, as well as signposting them to other services in the local area.
If you find yourself in financial difficulties and are finding it hard to feed your family visit the CAB office, near the Civic Centre in Luxford car park, and ask about a foodbank voucher.