Real Stories

“The foodbank was a lifesaver.” Your support is helping us to change lives.

Gill’s story

“The kindness from the Borehamwood Foodbank got us through a terrible Winter, and fed and clothed our boys so they’re some of the smartest at their school!”

Gill lives in Borehamwood with her husband, two sons, and four grandchildren. Her husband and sons work together in the family business repairing concrete, but when the pandemic hit, business stopped and they went from a three-wage household to a no-wage household overnight. The financial support for self-employed people was slow to come through from the Government, and they didn’t know how they were going to survive without a wage coming in, and no immediate end in sight.

Fortunately, a health visitor told them about the Borehamwood Foodbank, which became their lifeline during the lockdowns. Gill hadn’t heard of the service and had never needed it before. She was a little embarrassed to use it at first, but she made a call and within two days, she received her first food parcel – enough to feed her whole family for three days – delivered right to her doorstep.

But, more than the food, she was given a voucher for gas and electricity – which got them through the Winter – smart, new school uniforms for the boys, lots of information and advice about other support and service she could access, and regular phone calls from the kindest of volunteers who checked in on how she and her family were doing, always offering a friendly voice and any help they needed.

When the Foodbank opened back up, the volunteers encouraged Gill to come down in person. At first, she was anxious as she hadn’t ventured out for a while, but the volunteers gently reassured her with confidence about the precautions they were taking to keep everyone safe, with hand sanitiser and masks. When she went down with her granddaughter she was met with a sea of friendly (albeit masked!) faces and a biscuit and fruit juice for her granddaughter.

Just as the family business was getting back up and running, and they were getting on top of their bills again, they were dealt another blow. All four of the grandchildren tested positive for COVID, and the family had to go back into isolation for 10 days. The Foodbank was on hand again to deliver a food parcel, which helped them to stretch their wages over that isolation period.

The family are now back on their feet again, and will never forget the kindness of the volunteers at the Borehamwood Foodbank.



Kevin’s story

“The Borehamwood Foodbank has genuinely been a lifeline.”

Kevin, 65, from Borehamwood in Hertfordshire, worked on the railways for 40 years. When he retired seven years ago, he thought he’d supplement his pension by investing in what seemed to be lucrative schemes and by playing some online games. But he was scammed and the scammers wiped out all of the money in his bank account, and he’s spent months trying to get some of it back…with no luck, so far.

In the meantime, he’s just been living on his pension, which doesn’t stretch as far as it needs to. To feed himself, and his dog, Rocky, over the past few months, he’s been relying on the foodbank.

Kevin says: “The Borehamwood foodbank has genuinely been a lifeline. They say the food packages should last me three days, but it lasts me and Rocky a whole week. The ladies who help out week in, week out, are lovely and it’s nice to have a chat and a catch up when I come. Their friendly faces cheer me up and I look forward to seeing them each week. Thanks to each and every one of the kind volunteers.”



young family at foodbank entrance

Holly’s Story

“The people at the foodbank were wonderful, they understood and saved us.”

Having always worked and never claimed benefits, Holly, 29, from Chichester was bringing up her four-year-old daughter, Phoebe alone. She was determined to give her the best possible start in life, but when Phoebe suddenly fell ill, Holly was forced to turn to a foodbank for help.

The council flat that Holly was living in was in a deprived area with drug dealing and dog fouling taking place in the corridor outside her door. Holly was adamant that her daughter should have a better environment to grow up in and was offered alternative accommodation near her parents but at double the cost. As well as borrowing money from her parents to meet the cost, Holly was working part time. At the same time, she had been selling second-hand clothes online and the shop she was working in noticed its success and offered her a space selling clothes in their shop.

Under normal circumstances, Holly could just about scrape by, but when her daughter became poorly and had to spend three weeks in hospital, she was forced to close the shop temporarily. When Phoebe recovered, they returned home to empty kitchen cupboards, bills racking up and no income to support them.

Holly felt unable to ask her family for help again and after discussions with the local Citizens Advice Bureau she was referred to the foodbank.

Holly said: “The people at the foodbank were wonderful, they understood and saved us.”

Although Holly’s situation is still precarious, knowing the foodbank is there in an emergency is a huge weight off her shoulders.



smiling man - foodbank client


Richard’s Story

“Without the foodbank, I don’t think I would be here today.”

Having worked in the police force for six years, followed by 12-years in the Royal Military Police, Richard, 49, from New Milton, had always considered himself fit and healthy. However, this all changed when a chest infection quickly developed into a heart condition and he suffered from two major strokes followed by 19 mini strokes, leaving him unable to work.

Richard’s situation deteriorated further when he separated from his wife and moved out of their family home, where, unfortunately due to this change of address his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) was delayed. As a result of his serious heart condition Richard needs 35 tablets a day, but the cost of travelling to collect his prescriptions left him without enough money for food, and his local Citizens Advice Bureau referred him to the foodbank.

Although Richard admits he never expected to be in this situation, on arrival he was put at ease straight away. “The volunteers were fantastic, offering a chat and a shoulder to cry on. I suffer from depression as well and without the foodbank I don’t think I would be here today,” he said.

Richard looks forward to seeing his 10-year-old daughter every weekend but admits he has skipped meals on a few occasions so she can eat. He explains: “It’s a really bad situation that people have to decide whether they can feed themselves, feed their children or put the heating on. It’s a case of having to budget or having to go without.”

At the moment things are still tough for Richard, he’s on the waiting list for a heart transplant and will be on medication for the rest of his life, but he’s grateful that the foodbank is available if he ever needs some extra help.

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