Ipswich/Suffolk: The 60-year-olds forced to shoplift to stop stave off hunger, newborns needing milk and a woman, 94, relying on food hand outs - the reason Suffolk needs foodbanks

A Christmas hamped handed out to those in need in Stowmarket A Christmas hamped handed out to those in need in Stowmarket

Monday, March 3, 2014
11:54 AM

Sixty year-olds have resorted to stealing food leaving them with criminal records, the director of an Ipswich food bank has said.

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It comes as new figures show that more people claimed food in six months last year than the whole of the previous year in Suffolk. The Trussell Trust said that 2,148 people visited one of its three food banks in the county between April and September last year, while in Essex 8,293 visited one of 14 food banks. Thousands more food parcels have also been distributed around the region by other charities and organisations.

Ipswich-based independent charity Families in Need (FIND) director Maureen Reynel said her charity helps people ranging from families with newborn babies to a woman in her 90s.

FIND delivered 334 food parcels in January, with a similar amount delivered this month. Last year the charity delivered more than 4,100 food parcels.

Mrs Reynel said: “If you look through all the records it is very much people being sanctioned, people whose benefits have stopped for a few weeks, or even months.

“There is a big black hole in the middle where people have to borrow. They have payday loans. There are people who have jobs, but they don’t have enough money to pay the bills.

“A lot of it is down to the fact that benefits have changed drastically and people are really in dire straits. It is old ladies. I have a lady who is 94, I have newborns who need milk. There are a couple of 60 year-olds who now have criminal records who couldn’t afford to eat so they stole. They didn’t know anything about being on probation until then.”

She added: “There is certainly no improvement. I am hoping that in a couple of years we can close all the foodbanks and just keep a few. But at the moment that is not a possibility. At the moment we have got to keep caring for these people and try to keep them from having a criminal record.”

FIND generally helps people who have been referred by other government agencies.

The Trussell Trust figures were prepared for Eastern Euro MEP Richard Howitt who wants the government to claim cash to help people suffering extreme poverty.

The fund was backed in a vote at the European Parliament last week, but the government is unlikely to accept it, saying food aid was better decided nationally rather than by Brussels.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) insisted that taking the funding would mean other schemes missed out and stressed that Britain was not losing the cash.

Mr Howitt said that the figures showed there had been a “phenomenal increase” in the numbers using foodbanks last year, and accused the government of not helping the poorest because of it was anti-EU.

He became involved in negotiating the fund after calls for help from the Trussell Trust charity, which has said the block would mean British food banks would lose out on £3million from funds allocated to the UK.

The Trussell Trust is behind the East Suffolk Foodbank, Haverhill Foodbank and Lakenheath Foodback. It is also behind the Clacton Foodbank, Colchester Foodbank, Basildon Foodbank, Chelmsford Foodbank.

17 comments

  • £5 a day @UKMartin that is double my bill for gas and electric. I agree that some people get into these situations due to no fault of their own and that the system sometimes lets people down. BUT there are also those with huge TVs, Full blown Sky, smoking and drinking all done before they budget to feed their children. The system needs to be a safety net not a free for all so as many people as possible WORK hard to get off it.

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    A Smith

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • Foodbanks are not a supply and demand commodity ....you cannot walk of the street and demand food ....you have to assessed first before being given VOUCHERS it is not always down to the fact people cannot manage their budgets ..people need to look at the true facts before commenting ...no doubt they are all able to go out and buy what they like when they like ... people cannot budget with nothing .....according to the government you can survive on £5 a day ..it costs that for the electric and gas to cook food ....everyone's circumstances are different ....people are commenting after being Brainwashed .....

    Report this comment

    ukmartian

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • This is not down to poverty at all. It is down to people who cannot manage a budget an cannot manage priorities. These people need help to manage their budget and not charities that just take that responsibility away from them allowing them to take the easy option

    Report this comment

    BobE

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I understand fully the need for Food banks, i can't however understand why there are people allowed to use such charity donations to feed their kids when the adults still manage to buy tobacco and weed for themselves, get their nails done and have pub lunches on a regular basis. Why arent there more checks done to make sure those using the service actually need it.?? Its making me angry just thinking how people are having to live this way in 2014.

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    a friend

    Sunday, March 2, 2014

  • It time we stopped handing out money with the idea that people will learn to look after themselves, they will spend it on what they want and then plead poverty. Its time we paid their rent direct to landlords and gave them vouchers for food, heat, water and clothing (the things people NEED). NO SKY NO ALCAHOL etc etc

    Report this comment

    A Smith

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Its ironic that we need food banks one of the richest countries in the world and people starving...People have been brainwashed by programmes like Benefit St in seeing benefit claimants as scroungers, well you only see what they want you to see, the real scroungers ..they dont show you the disabled person who has lost his benefits , the 60 yr old who has worked for 45 years and cannot get a job and is sanctioned for being deemed for not trying hard enough....people need to see the truth about benefits ...and by the way more money is lost by TAX EVASION than benefit fraud that is from the working element .....

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    ukmartian

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I just cannot believe this Christmas Hamper. If the Food Bank is really trying to save people from starvation, then why such luxury as Crackers, Schloer, chocolates (Top Brand) candles, are included I cannot fathom. A free range turkey too - not a frozen one. This makes me angry, help and education is what these people need. Maybe it is just easier to pick up freebees?

    Report this comment

    Chris B

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • A Smith ..i do agree there are people with huge TV'S mobiles in every pocket everybody see's that ..remember the case in Ipswich recently with the 2 houses?? he had computers sound systems x box wall hung tv etc ...But how often do you see or are told of the cases of the people who have nothing you are not ...that is the point I am trying to make ....yes hammer the people who go out and buy a mega TV's whilst on benefits that is only fair....Benefit money should only essentials ..IE food and shelter ...I myself am unemployed ...i dont get JSA as it got cut of when my wife worked more than 24 hrs ...ok I am lucky i provided for myself whilst in employment just in case something like this happened to me ,,But I still cannot afford big TV's and crates of beer the only new thing I have bought is a washing machine...there are people out there who are genuine victims of the policies set in place to catch the fiddlers ..just dont tar them with the same brush ....

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    ukmartian

    Tuesday, March 4, 2014

  • I think a large reason for the increased use of foodbanks is down to their increased publicity in the media. Up until a year ago I had never heard of them. To me they are the lazy persons way out. So many ways to save on shopping these days that it is not hard to feed a family on a limited budget.

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    BlueSuedeShoes

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • well said a smith , this is the only way to feed them perhaps a small cigs token.

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I am so grateful for being in a position not to need to access foodbanks, as far as I am aware the food items given out are donated items. I wonder how many people who have commented have found themselves between jobs due to employer having to let them go due to reduction in staffing or closure? How many have found that the delay in receiving benefits have meant they have had to borrow food or accept food from familiesfriends? Everyone's experience is individual and therefore we cannot really appreciate how hard it can be for some without having that experience.

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    Footyfan

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • To the people complaining about the brands of the items; the products are donated directly, FIND don't go out and buy the products. If someone decided to donate a free range turkey, then one lucky family got a free range turkey.

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    Pop-pop

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • If you receive benefits you should not be able to get yourself into debt, credit should be refused for those not in employment. Anyone receiving benefits and has their housing paid for should have more than enough money for food, if you are paying credit card debts, mobile phone contracts, sky tv, alcohol, smoking etc etc then that is their doing. Housing benefit should be paid directly to the landlord, how ridiculous that it isn't! If people stopped spending money on things they couldn't afford then they shouldn't need foodbanks.

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    tophatt

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • I just cannot believe this Christmas Hamper. If the Food Bank is really trying to save people from starvation, then why such luxury as Crackers, Schloer, chocolates (Top Brand) candles, are included I cannot fathom. A free range turkey too - not a frozen one. This makes me angry, help and education is what these people need. Maybe it is just easier to pick up freebees?

    Report this comment

    Chris B

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • P.S I wonder how many of these parcels are sold on

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    pandy

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • Candles,crackers ,and sweets are not items that should be in a food parcel ,proper food that is nourishing is what should be in it, looking at the picture of that parcel I bet a lot of hard working people would have loved to have that for Christmas,no more am I giving to such organisations.

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Monday, March 3, 2014

  • you would not get credit only through loan sharks .it is a wonder more people are not considering topping themselves.i have known how they must feel.this country could do more to help them.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Monday, March 3, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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