“Food became a luxury as every dollar was going towards keeping a roof over our heads” – Amanda
Amanda was excited by the prospect of building a new life in the country and a better future for her daughter Emily, when her partner was transferred to Gippsland for work in 2015.
Moving to the country gave Amanda the financial flexibility to be able to stay at home and raise their 4-year-old daughter Emily.
When her relationship broke down, she was left with nowhere to go.
Amanda didn’t have friends or family nearby to support her.
Living in country Victoria can be beautiful, but when things go wrong it can be hard to find support. Sometimes it simply doesn’t exist.
“You just don’t realise how quickly things can change, it felt like overnight I became a single parent with no job and nowhere to live”.
Sadly, Amanda’s story isn’t rare as a single event in life can lead to not having enough to eat.
It can happen in a matter of days or weeks but we all think it will happen to someone else.
Unemployment, relationship breakdowns, unexpected expenses and health related issues are some of the most common triggers.
Employment opportunities and access to childcare services in country Victoria are depleting as industries shut down and businesses close. For Amanda, it makes getting back on her feet just that little bit harder.
Right now, the need across Country Victoria in areas just like Gippsland, is overwhelming.
Ironically, it’s often the farming based communities themselves that don’t have enough.
It’s heartbreaking knowing that farmers working 15-16 hours a day to feed our families as well as their own are the ones doing it tough.
A lot of people can’t believe so many Victorian families are experiencing food insecurity, but the issue is somewhat hidden from view due to the stigma of asking for help.
“I was blown away by the opportunities that help from Foodbank gave me. I have to stay strong for my daughter, but the help brought me to tears.” – Amanda
At first Amanda wasn’t comfortable with idea of receiving food assistance.
“I would have preferred other people who needed the help more to get assistance, then I realised I was one of those people. It’s a pride thing.”
She feels she can live now and not just survive.
Next year Emily will start kindergarten which means Amanda will have the opportunity to join the workforce again. Another key step in independence and getting life back on track.
This Christmas we’re putting together hampers to make sure people like Amanda and Emily have enough over the holiday period.