BENEFITS cuts mean many desperate families in Flintshire cannot afford to eat, it has been claimed.
A total of 169 adults and 144 children were fed by Flintshire Foodbank in the last 16 weeks.
More than half of the 123 families given emergency supplies said they were going hungry due to changes or delays in benefits.
At the Foodbank in Mold the Leader heard the story of a single mother who could not feed her son after her benefits were stopped for re-evaluation.
The woman, who the Leader has called Laura to protect her identity, was visited by a front-line care professional who found her cupboards bare.
The care worker wrote to Flintshire Foodbank. She said: “The day I visited Laura had sent her little boy to stay with his dad as she had no food to feed him that night.
“The only thing that Laura had in her house to eat was a chocolate mousse that her neighbour had given her for her son.
“There was not even a tin of beans in her cupboard.
“Laura was desperate and depressed and didn’t know how she would survive.
“Thanks to the wonderful support from the Flintshire Food Bank I have been able to collect and deliver several food parcels to this young family.
“Your help has been invaluable and so appreciated by Laura. Her son is now back home and with help from you is starting to feel a lot more positive and a lot less hungry. Laura still has a long way to go with debt management but they will no longer go without food and need to skip meals as they had been doing previously.”
The foodbank network is part of the Christian charity The Trussell Trust.
A spokesman for the trust said: “Today in Flintshire there are families struggling to put food on the table. For people on low incomes, a sudden crisis – redundancy, benefit delay or even an expected bill – can mean going hungry. Every day parents skip meals to feed their children and people are forced to choose between paying the rent and eating.”
The Flintshire Foodbank in The Old Chapel in Wrexham Street, relies solely on donations of non-perishable food from kind-hearted residents. Volunteers hold collections at supermarkets across the county and supplies can also be dropped off on a Tuesday and Friday between 10am and noon.
Kerry Feather, Flintshire Council’s head of finance, said: “Where customers who are entitled to and receiving council tax or housing benefit are facing hardship, we would ask them to contact us to see if additional financial assistance could be available through the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme.
“Flintshire County Council is currently processing benefit claims within 16 days of receipt. We have a Claim in a Day initiative and, where customers have all of their information ready, they can contact us to make an appointment and we will complete their application on the day they visit the council.
“The benefit service can be contacted by phone on 01352 704848 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.”