Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mum: Sometimes You Simply Have to Ask for Food

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Mum: Sometimes You Simply Have to Ask for Food

Article excerpt

Byline: Sarah Scott Reporter

AMOTHER has spoken out about using foodbanks to feed her family to help erase the stigma of turning to charity.

Katie Friend, 24, said her family would have gone hungry if it wasn't for the volunteers at the Gateshead Foodbank.

The mother-of-one, who is a trained nurse, said her family plunged into poverty when their benefits were sanctioned just days before Christmas last year.

Katie desperately tried to hide the fact she was struggling until organisers at St Chad's Community Project noticed something was wrong.

And as she faced Christmas without any food she plucked up the courage to visit Gateshead Foodbank in the centre of Gateshead.

Volunteers provided her with emergency food parcels to get her through the festive period.

Katie and husband Mal ate tinned casserole and powdered mash potato, while two-year-old Theo unwrapped presents from the charity shop on Christmas Day.

They were later forced to resort to emergency food parcels to give Theo a birthday party to hide from him that they were struggling.

Katie, who now works part-time in a laundry, said: "I have been brought up not to ask for help. I come from a proud family and when you're struggling you just have to get on with it.

"My husband is very much the same but we had to swallow our pride - not just for us but for Theo. He needed food.

"I came down to the foodbank and I was actually shaking. I was terrified, I felt so embarrassed and ashamed and felt like such a bad mum.

"I thought I would come in and find homeless people queuing up. I came in and it was lovely and bright and I was greeted with a smile.

"It was the total opposite of what I thought it was going to be."

Katie, whose husband has now found a full-time job, said Christmas had been tough but they appreciated what they had. …

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