Working families' demand for food parcels is rising sharply, says Bedford charity

"Last week I had to tell my children that they can’t eat,” said working mum
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Working parents have been “reduced to tears” in gratitude after a Bedford charity stepped into help with food parcels during the current cost-of-living crisis.

And according to FACES, the problem is getting worse and worse as families who do not qualify for government support are struggling to make ends meet.

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Michaela Martindale, chief executive officer at FACESMichaela Martindale, chief executive officer at FACES
Michaela Martindale, chief executive officer at FACES

One grateful parent said: “Honestly you don’t know how much this has meant to my family, last week I had to tell my children that they can’t eat because I haven’t had enough food in, this is incredible.”

Michaela Martindale, chief executive officer at FACES, explained as early as the February half term, the charity was receiving four to five calls a day.

“Our distribution of foodbank vouchers doubled just in this week,” she said.

After that FACES applied for funding from Aldi and were granted £1,000 to run an Easter pop-up shop.

The food, averaging around £60 worth per family, includes fridge itemsThe food, averaging around £60 worth per family, includes fridge items
The food, averaging around £60 worth per family, includes fridge items

Michaela then emailed all primary schools within a mile of the charity’s Church Lane Community Centre office to identify those families who were working but not eligible for government holiday vouchers.

And FACES was amazed at the response.

Michaela said: “We received a high demand for this service and we fed 128 children in one week under this funding.”

She went on to say: “At FACES, we are always trying to meet the needs of the local community. Following on from an increased demand in phone calls, we decided to seek funding to help working families who are not eligible for government support. The response has been overwhelming with many families reduced to tears, showing their gratitude for FACES support.”

One parent told FACES: “When my school said I could be referred for this I said are you sure? It is amazing this can be offered to working parents, and I am struggling to meet all my bills.”

While another said: “It's a struggle for everyone at the moment, but as a single working parent, it is very much appreciated to receive this support. Because of FACES, I haven't had to worry about putting food on the table for two weeks out the six.”

And a third added: “Being working parents and having two children start a new school this year – and having to buy all their uniforms and equipment – the pop-up shop has been amazing for us as a family. Has really helped us when finances are a struggle. We both work full time yet still struggle so schemes like this help families like ours who would otherwise be left to struggle. The staff are amazing so kind and helpful.”

Over the summer FACES also received £4,000 from Little Star Media company in Milton Keynes to pay for four weeks of the summer holidays.

The charity again sent out referral forms and each week have helped 15-20 families choose fresh food at no cost to them.

Michaela added: "We will continue to seek further funding from local businesses. If anybody would like to support any of FACES projects, then please contact us directly.”

FACES is looking for funding for the October, December and February school holidays – if you can help, email [email protected] or call 01234 270601.