These are just some of the many stories from people who have used Harlow Foodbank and there are many more since we opened in April 2009.
Forced to leave a thriving business in Middle East after 10 years as an expat. Arrived back in UK but had a stroke. Did not qualify for benefits as hadn’t paid National insurance in last 10 years (had previously paid in for 25 years). Ended up homeless. Foodbank helped for several weeks until Foreign Office intervened. He is now housed and in receipt of correct benefits.
Signed off JSA as she had a new job. She just missed the payroll cut off and had to wait 7 weeks until she could receive her first salary credit. Foodbank supported her throughout the period without benefits or pay.
Had a seizure and rushed into A&E, but whilst in hospital missed her JSA sign on appointment. As a consequence she was sanctioned. Matter was resolved but during appeal process she had to receive Foodbank support.
Had multiple health issues requiring up to 4 hospital visits per week which initially caused him to be sanctioned for missing sign on appointments until moved to ESA. But then found repayments to a previous Emergency Living Fund advance meant his benefits were cut to a level that was impossible to support the whole family. It took 6 months to resolve and until then they had no other option other than to rely on Foodbank.
Due to heavy debts, a debt reschedule plan agreed which left very little income to live on. Over many months she kept to the debt payment schedule but each time an unexpected breakdown occurred (washing machine, boiler, car repairs), there was no margin to cover. Rather than incur more debt, she used Foodbank to tide her over these ad hoc crises. She is making good progress.
Significant mental health issues meant he repeatedly missed JSA sign on dates so accrued substantial period of sanction but struggled to complete the forms to move to ESA. Signposted to a professional support agency who ensure had the right medical support and right benefits. Had to provide Foodbank support for several weeks whilst issues were resolved.
She and her neighbour had such low income that they could not afford to have electricity for lighting, heating or cooking. They alternated cooking in each other’s home to seek out what small credit they had. When supported by Foodbank, we were also able to offer a £10 electricity credit to enable them to cook the food provided (a local church had given a donation for that very purpose). Cash was not given, but the money is loaded on the key by a Foodbank representative.
Thousands have been fed by the Harlow Foodbank
To date we have fed 15,859 (10,568 adults & 5,291 children) people with emergency food.
Please HELP US and make a financial one-off or monthly donation towards our work by going to our website and clicking the Local Giving or Just Giving button and then follow the online instructions.
Michael Roberts Charitable Trust
The Rainbow Centre
2 Wych Elm
Essex CM20 1QP
Tel 01279 724 515
Registered Charity No. 1065006
Registered Company No. 3439299