Chloe was forced to flee her home and relocate several times with her elderly mother in order to escape a violent and threatening ex-partner.
Despite her best efforts to start a new life throughout previous years, Chloe still fears for her mother’s and her own safety, too scared to find a job and lead a normal life.
Describing her situation as “living in hiding on Universal Credit”, and with finances stretched to the limit due to rocketing energy bills, she is often left with around £10 a week to feed two adults.
“It’s just impossible to make ends meet,” explained an emotional Chloe.
Chloe was referred to the DENS Foodbank after calling a support number on a local community notice board. Having originally thought the process for accessing the service would be too complicated, she was immediately surprised at how simple it was to apply and receive a food parcel voucher.
Before arriving at the Foodbank, Chloe also experienced feelings of guilt and anxiety about being judged for using the service, but this quickly changed.
“I rang the bell and someone answered the door, and it was just like having a hug… They went off and kept coming back with bags. All of my fears and concerns about whether I deserve this were wiped away. They were lovely.”
The range of items provided by the Foodbank to suit Chloe’s living needs included fresh, tinned, frozen food, and toiletries. This was “overwhelming” for her.
“It made a massive difference for me and my mum because we could sit down, breathe and be able to eat a meal, because before we were skipping eating every day and a half.”
Chloe feels hugely grateful for how the service can support people in terrible situations like hers.
“It’s taken my life from just being desperate to feeling a sense of gratitude and that there’s somewhere that will take care of us.”
Chloe now hopes to restore some order to her life and finally escape the troubles of her past.
“I had come close to feeling suicidal. I don’t feel like that now because I have the two primary things that are needed to exist: a safe place to live and knowing that we can feed and wash ourselves.”
If you are in need of emergency food, please click here to find out how you can access the service.
Please note: Chloe’s name and image have been changed to protect her anonymity.
Story published 4th November 2022.