The cases below reflect some of the people we see and the types of situations they find themselves in. Names have been changed to protect their identity.
Every case is different but the same theme runs throughout all of them – not enough money to buy food.
Jason was a single 19 year old man estranged from his family. He couldn’t find work and lived on a weekly JobSeeker’s Allowance. Jason had a room in a house of multiple occupation – sharing the kitchen and bathroom with the other occupants. After cashing his benefit one week and going shopping, Jason had all his food stolen from the communal kitchen. He had no means of buying more food so was very relieved to receive help from the Lincoln Community Larder to bridge the gap until his next benefit payment was due.
Jim was aged 55 and lived alone. The factory he worked in closed down and he had to live on a weekly JobSeeker’s Allowance. This money had to pay for everything apart from his rent and part of his council tax, which was covered by benefits. After paying for his gas, electricity, water, travel expenses to the JobCentre and something towards the modest credit card bill he ran up whilst working, he was left with just £10 per week for food. Lincoln Community Larder's help meant that for a few days at least, Jim ate a little better than he had for several weeks.
Susan and Dennis
Susan and Dennis had four children aged between 6 and 18 years, all at school or college. Dennis worked in sales and the major portion of his salary was made up of commission. Susan had been made redundant 3 months before Dennis became ill. He was off work for 8 weeks. His first couple of pay packets after returning to work comprised just his basic wage which was very low and barely covered the mortgage, council tax and fuel. Susan was very distressed to find herself unable to feed the children unless she borrowed money that she would struggle to pay back. Lincoln Community Larder provided food for two adults and four children and their next problem was carrying all the food home.
Tracey was a single mum with two school aged children. She worked part time but really struggled to make ends meet. She went slightly overdrawn at the bank and the resulting exorbitant bank charges left her with a big hole in her already tight budget. Without a helping hand from the Lincoln Community Larder, Tracey would have been unable to put food on the table.
Julie was a widowed mother of three children and received Widowed Parent’s Benefit. Someone maliciously and falsely reported her for failing to declare that she was co-habiting with a man she was dating. Despite there being no evidence to support this claim, the DWP stopped her money. An Appeal Tribunal did reinstate her benefits, however she had to wait 6 months for her case to be dealt with, during which time her only income was Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit. A few Lincoln Community Larder food bags during this period eased Julie’s desperate situation.
Gemma had been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for well over a year and in that time had applied for countless jobs. She was matched to a job by the JobCentre but failed to apply for it as she had already applied for, and been turned down for the same job a few weeks previously. This explanation was not accepted by the JobCentre and she was sanctioned, meaning she didn’t get any money, for 2 weeks. Because Gemma had been on benefits for so long she didn’t have any money put aside to cover such an emergency so was referred to the Lincoln Community Larder so she could at least eat.