Category: Stories

Peter’s Story

I lost my business last year, then we waited months for any benefits payments. It’s been tough, juggling food, bills, rent. The food pantry’s seen us through.  

I’m back working full-time again (works in a warehouse), I grab as many hours as possible. But it’s still not enough.  

It’s been good being back at work, but we now earn ‘too much’– so the three kids don’t get free school meals anymore, so that’s an extra £30 a week to find. With this cost of living crisis, I’m getting more worried about food, each week the worry’s there. I’ve taken that first step, I’ve reached out for advice about my benefits, to see if there’s any more I should be getting. But the waiting list is long, so it’ll be a while yet.  

Jean’s Story

These last few years, they’ve been hard for us. I’ve got a job at least. It’s just 10 hours a week though (evening cleaning job). I’ve been looking for more hours, but I have my granddaughter 5 days a week.  

I get Universal Credit and those Personal Independence Payments, because I’ve been struggling with my mental health. But it’s not enough. A lot of my anxiety is caused by worrying where I’ll get money for food each week. The bills just keep on coming. It’s a constant stress.  

This last year, I’ve made some serious cutbacks to my food shops It’s even affected Harry (Dog) as I can’t afford the food he likes any more. He’s started to get sick. I come each week to the food pantry, it helps take the pressure off but things are still tight.  

Louis’ Story

I work a part time job at a restaurant. Before the cost-of-living crisis, I was doing four night a week, 28 hours. But I’m on one of those zero-hour contracts, so with less people coming into the restaurant now, my hours have been cut. 

I don’t know if I get the minimum wage, I don’t get payslips, but don’t want to ask, what if my hours get cut even more? I’m a single dad, got two kids, they’re great. Lily-Mae, she’s at school now, but Connor, the baby’s still with me. Childcare’s too steep so I stay with him in the day. My mum has them at nights when I get a shift.  I’m looking for another job, but it’s got to fit around Lily-Mae’s school hours. 

It’s making me stressed, depressed even. I wasn’t eating much – I’ve got to feed the kids first – so I go to the food pantry. Its helped – I don’t feel hungry all the time.  


Kalli’s Story

Good Food Programme Director, Dr Naomi Maynard and Food Pantry Volunteer Kalli Speariett recently spoke with Kay Burley for Sky News about the cost-of-living crisis and how it is impacting on community food spaces across Liverpool.

After their interview, they spoke with each other about the personal impact of the cost-of-living crisis, what they are noticing in their communities, and how government could help families by increasing the threshold for free school meals.


John Paul’s story

I left care when I was 17, I’m 24 now. I’ve been living on my own or in hostels ever since in and out of work.

This last year’s been hard, I started working in January for an agency and after two weeks they had to let me go because of my asthma, the only role they had available was all in COVID wards in the hospital, and because of my asthma they couldn’t put me there, so they had to cancel the contract.

When I started working I was buying higher quality ingredients and everything, so I can actually cook my meals from scratch rather than getting them frozen. I can make my own pizzas and everything but then obviously that ended and it’s kind of gone back to the usual frozen ready meals.

I think what’s needed is to either make foods more cost effective or for an increase in Universal Credit, which I know that they have been doing since the start- April last year, but a permanent increase if you get me.

Story from Anonymous

I’m a self-employed 57-year-old, who has been out of work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to my lack of eligibility, I have had no help from any government bodies during this time. This has taken a heavy toll on me personally and I’ve begun staying in bed for much of the day, as then I don’t have to even think about breakfast and lunch, often just having a single evening meal. My neighbours volunteer at the local foodbank and for this reason I don’t go as I wouldn’t want the added stress of embarrassment.

I’m increasingly worried about my future as my state pension is ten years away due to the retirement age being put back and I seem unable to get a job even though I’m often over-qualified. I have a feeling this is due to my age, which is disheartening as I’ve worked since I was 15. I’ve persevered through this, but the retirement age push back has really hurt me. I also wish there was a more subtle way I could access help, other than at a food bank.

Cheryl’s story

I’m Cheryl, I’m 51 and I have two daughters and four granddaughters.

I was a nurse a few years ago, but I worked as a cleaner before the pandemic. Before Covid I got some temporary work, but then it just fell on its face. I was just doing some cleaning to fill gaps but that fizzled out and we were back to square zero. One daughter and granddaughter depend on me totally, and it put me in poverty just when they had no income.

We are tossing up, do we put money in the meter or eat? I was reluctant to use foodbanks because it’s all tinned food – I have multiple food allergies and I am allergic to all pharmaceuticals, I get sick, so I use my food as medicine. Food is medicine to me. When I just rely on tins I get sick really, really quickly.

The fruit and veg is the best part! Even if I am the veggie in our house, my daughter and granddaughter they both still love veg, its good nutrients. We need our immunities boosting during this season anyways, even without Covid. It’s been hard, especially with the baby, she’s just two and she’s growing, her needs are growing. This has helped us juggle a little bit more.

I share whatever I cook with my block, I got three men who live single in my block, so I leave what I’ve cooked outside their doors.

Zahara’s Story

My husband and I have been living near Prince’s Park for the last year. We’re originally from the Yemen, but lived in Germany for a little while before coming to Liverpool. We arrived last summer, back then things were looking up, we had money, we had a car and my husband had a job.

When the second lockdown started that job was gone. We had nothing and we aren’t eligible for benefits. We’re now in debt and owe our landlord thousands of pounds in rent.

It has been tough, there have been times when we were only having soup. I’m a good cook, but we just don’t have the money. During the last few weeks we experience some depression, we didn’t even have the appetite for food. We are getting support from the community centre and a church, we are so grateful. If I do find a job I’ll have income and then probably my circumstances will change.

Barry’s story

My two daughters, one’s 10 and the other one’s 14, I’ll have them fed more than me, you know what I mean, you’ve got to. It’s like my cat, I’ve got to make sure she’s fed before me.

I only started learning to cook in the last couple of years. It’s not that I like cooking, it’s a necessity really, more than anything. But I have actually found it quite therapeutic to be honest.

I had 4 jobs a week at one point but I’ve been in and out of employment for about 10 years now. I’m trying to get back into work and been on courses through the foodbank. I’ve struggled with my mental health over the years, I was recently diagnosed with Bipolar and Adult ADHD. I’ve tried to kill myself a few times.

I come to a food bank, and I volunteer there too. Volunteering gives me strength, makes me feel good, I enjoy helping other people. I’ll do something but I won’t wait round to be thanked. As long I know it’s been done to my ability, I’m happy with that.

Neil’s Story

This year I turn 59.  I don’t have a home or an income so I need to rely on food each week from two foodbanks. Before the pandemic I went around the soup kitchens, I used to volunteer at them too and work the door, but now a lot of them are closed.

I’m disabled but my disability, we just don’t’ get assistance for our type. That’s a very long story (sighs), I haven’t claimed since 2007.

I don’t have anywhere to cook, so I eat pre-prepared or dried foods. That’s what I get here at the foodbank. The variety of food I get is good but without the second food bank, the quantity wouldn’t be enough for the week.