In Teignmouth we have been running a community food larder since July 2020, as a response to the pandemic. We have wonderful volunteers, many of them Labour members, and we serve a changing group of families, individuals and couples. At the moment we are packing about 35 – 40 food parcels each week and delivering them locally.
Foodbanks and larders like ours should not be needed, but they are! Covid has made it worse, and families locally have lost jobs, been made redundant, had hours
cut, and their income reduced. Illness, disabilities and family difficulties can affect ability to
Bills pile up and debt can grow alarmingly fast. The wait for benefits is long, and not many of
us have savings when we get to this point. I believe that the government needs to think again about how it supports people in this position, and change its attitude of considering people as lazy or scrounging first rather than in genuine need. One of our mums explained how ashamed she had felt when trying to explain that she needed food for her family. It wasn’t her fault, as she had lost her job due to Covid seasonal work being closed, and had 3 children to support.
Each of our families have different reasons for needing help. some need it permanently and some only need it because they have hit hard times and fallen into temporary debt. Universal Credit is a disaster, and one of our single dad’s has waited weeks for it to start, using his last savings to survive, despite being disabled, and having two children. He told me how hard it was to pay rent, bills, and buy things for the children’s school needs. The food the larder has provided has been a help, so that he has some money for bills.
That is one of the reasons why I am standing as a Labour Candidate in these elections – I want to see positive change in support for families and individuals, and change starts with small steps, even someone like me getting voted onto the local council.