It's not just about handing out food - read some local people's experiences here (May 2023)
(nb. names have been changed to protect anonymity) - We are working hard to understand the concerns and needs of local people who come to us for help.
“I ended up at the foodbank because of mental health being left mistreated. Due to the long waiting lists to get seen by someone it meant that I was left unmedicated and it was just getting worse. As my mental health started getting worse my husband found it harder to go to work each day and leave me on my own. It got to the point he had to come out of work and be my carer. With no wages coming in and our bills increasing and getting worse we were literally left with nothing. It was only for my friend telling me about a foodbank and giving me number to get a referral that we managed to get help from the foodbank. The foodbank was a lifeline for us at that time and when I went to there, they were really welcoming and even asked if I had preferences and allergies which made me feel like they seen me as a person rather than a voucher code and it helped put me at ease. If it wasn’t for West Cheshire Foodbank, I don’t know what would’ve happened, I genuinely can’t thank the foodbank enough for all the help they gave me”
“I ended up at the foodbank because of my pay day (wages) being changed from the 15th of the Month to the last working day. As I only work 16 hours a week, I still receive universal credit to help me top up, however, because my employer changed the day I receive my wages, it looked to Universal credit like I had been paid twice that month (which wasn’t the case) so, as a result, I received no universal credit and had to rely on my wages for my rent and bills, (I only get paid minimum wage so I was left with nothing). On top of that my cooker had broken so I had to fork out for a new one. I remember crying, thinking where am I gonna get my next meal from?, it was only for the foodbank supporting me that I was able to eat for the next few days. The foodbank does really help people and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them.”
“I spent 34 years in an abusive relationship after leaving my ex-husband. I was moved urgently to Chester, I had no family and no money, I had to wait for my benefits to be sorted and had no food in my flat. That’s why I had to use a foodbank, I had no idea about vouchers or if I was entitled to use the foodbank before going to West Cheshire Foodbank, I was lucky I met great volunteers who helped me from the beginning when I was in real need. Then I got my very own place leaving the woman’s shelter, I had nothing in the flat, it was only for there being a councillor and citizens advice at the foodbank who helped me get everything I needed that helped make a future for me. It also gave me the confidence to do what I do now. I volunteer and give up my time to share my lived experience to help other people and hopefully make sure that people who are in similar situations to me get the help they need and know what support is available out there. Thank you to everyone at West Cheshire Foodbank and to all the volunteers.”
I had hit rock bottom before being supported by West Cheshire Foodbank, I am 20 years old and had become homeless due to my parents moving away. I had nothing, no food, family or friends locally, not even a place to call my home. That’s when I went to the foodbank, my support worker told me about them and at that point they were the only place I knew that could help. West Cheshire Foodbank saved my life, they helped me with a food parcel meaning I was able to eat (it was the first time I had ate for days), they also had a citizens advice worker there who helped me make sure I was getting all the money I was entitled to and ensured I was getting the right support I needed. I am in a much better place now, I have my own property, a new job and my mental health is so much better, none of that would have been possible if it wasn’t for the help and support I got at West Cheshire Foodbank. They give me hope, hope that the dark times I was in would get better and they were right! I owe a lot to the foodbank, they really do what it says on the tin… help support people in times of need.