Thirty-five year old Shireen is a mum of two and volunteers at The Bread and Butter Thing food hub in Warrington. She’s also a full-time unpaid carer for her two children, who are both autistic. In the very rare hours that Shireen’s not looking after her children or volunteering, she can be found doing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, her life’s passion.
“Without The Bread and Butter Thing, I would have to either skip meals or be down to tins of soup or something along those lines... just to make sure the kids were fed.”
At first, Shireen was interested in The Bread and Butter Thing because she heard it was a charity helping prevent food waste. But with the cost of living increasing and being unable to work because of her caring role, Shireen has started to rely heavily on the Bread and Butter Thing, where (for £7.50) she can get over £35 worth of food.
“I am just hoping things don’t get any more expensive because then I will panic.”
The Bread and Butter Thing (TBBT) food hub at a primary school, Warrington is a food club providing people (mainly families with children at the school) with affordable food. Every week, food is delivered in a van containing everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, to store cupboard essentials, and then packaged up into bags by volunteers.
“I almost had a heart attack at the price of some things… just the basics, like bread and milk.’
The food is heavily discounted. £7.50 buys individuals/families three large bags, worth about £35. TBBT have just received additional funding from Comic Relief's partnership with Sainsbury’s, which means they can expand to other parts of the UK.
“I'm the longest-serving one of me who does the job that I do… I’ve been doing this for three and a half years... I need to make a difference in some way in order to make me feel like the work I do has value, so [Working for The Bread and Butter Thing]….It just seemed right up my alley - a way to make a genuine difference in a way that is directly noticeable, and has a direct impact on people who really need it.”
“We have seen since the cost of living has started to really bite….we’ve noticed that we are at, or over, capacity for most of our hubs. We have hubs in Tameside area where you average getting onto our list once every three weeks.”
“We are finding that customers are starting to have to choose between buying food and heating their homes. Some are having people pick up food for them because they can’t afford the bus fare to get to the hub in the first place. Customers are telling us what a difference this hub makes to them.. when energy bills skyrocket as they have, then they still have the money to buy the food and heat their home at the same time.”
“Thank you to Sainsbury’s and Comic Relief for the money, for the help, for the exposure, for everything. It will help us, help other people. That is what it’s about: it’s community- based, pulling together, to make sure people around you aren’t struggling.”
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