Just a few months before reaching out to Foodbank for help, Laura was excitedly looking forward to the birth of her baby daughter.
After two other very straightforward pregnancies, this hardworking mum from Melbourne’s outer northern suburbs was expecting a trouble-free delivery of her third child … but that wasn’t what happened.
In fact, Laura suffered such serious health complications after the birth of their daughter Mia, she was kept in hospital under constant medical supervision for weeks.
With no other family members nearby to offer support, her husband Peter was forced to take unpaid leave from work to look after their two children and newborn baby while his wife recovered.
The impact on their finances was devastating.
The family’s sudden drop in income – combined with the unexpected medical bills – meant Laura and Peter’s savings quickly dried up … and they were soon faced with a very tough decision.
“We had no income for a month, but we had to pay our rent and make sure we paid all the bills too”, explains Laura.
“We only had a few dollars left in our account, and honestly didn’t know what to do. If we stopped paying the rent, we’d end up homeless … but if all the money went to pay bills, the kids would go hungry.”
Peter and Laura tried to protect their kids from the harsh reality the family was facing, but without even a loaf of bread in the cupboard, the children were often sent to school with no lunch in their bags.
Their hopes of keeping the crisis private came crashing down when Laura received a phone call from school. Their active 6-year-old son, Jackson, was getting so hungry during the day, he had started visiting the canteen at lunchtime asking for food.
While the ladies in the canteen were happy to give Jackson some food on credit, the school not knowing their situation, was now asking Laura and Peter to pay the bill.
Laura broke down in despair. Not only couldn’t they afford the canteen bill, the young couple had no idea how they would continue to feed their children that week.
The shame and embarrassment she felt was overwhelming, knowing Jackson – and everyone else around them – now knew the crippling financial situation they were in.
Fortunately, a parent at the school quietly pulled Laura aside and offered to take her to a local community group who partner with Foodbank to provide essential food to families in need.
Laura agreed to get help, and thanks to the financial support of generous donors, she left the community pantry with a trolley full of healthy, nutritious food from Foodbank.
“I just broke down and cried. I couldn’t believe how much receiving that food changed everything for our family,” says a thankful Laura.
We’re so thankful for the support of friends like you, who enabled us to be there for Laura and her family in their time of need.
But with the cold weather setting in, heating and power costs will continue to rise, putting even more pressure on low-income families like Laura and Peter’s who are struggling to make ends meet.
So please make your tax-deductible donation now to help ensure hungry Victorian families never have to choose between paying the rent and feeding the kids. We’re grateful for your support!