non perishable foods being packaged into cardboard boxes

Mom forced to use food banks to feed eight children after her benefits are cut

One mother in the UK has ended up having to use a food bank in order to survive. Feeding herself and her eight children would’ve been easier. However, the government cut her benefits, leaving the mom in an unfortunate situation.

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Marie Buchan claims her benefits have been cut by around £160 per week because her two oldest children are now over the age of 16.

WalesOnline

Now, that might not seem like a lot. But, that equates to over $200 a week, which is nearly $850 per month. Losing access to those kinds of funds can certainly have an impact on one’s livelihood. The 39-year-old mom is from Birmingham and said the situation has been a “huge struggle” for her and her children. Hence, needing to use a food bank to survive.

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Needing a Food Bank to Survive

Marie knew the day would come when her benefits would run out for her older children. However, the coronavirus lockdown and lack of employment has only worsened the situation for her.

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“Two of my daughters are over the age of 16 now so I have had my benefits, like child benefits and tax credit, cut. I am around £160 per week worse off now.

ExpressUK
Marie with her children who need a food bank to survive
Credit: BPM Media

Marie’s kids are aged 20, 18, 16, 15, 13, 11, 10, and 8. The 20-year-old, 18-year-old, and 16-year-old are eligible for employment and could potentially assist Marie in the cost of food. However, currently, a food bank is the only way for the family to get by.

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You have to do what you have to do to survive and I am so grateful that I can turn to them. They are a lifesaver for me and so so many other people.”

ExpressUK

While many have told Marie that she should simply “get a job,” the mom of eight says it’s not that simple.

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 “Unfortunately I have been given the nickname octomum and that has stuck. It is definitely holding me back from getting a job. I have applied for a number of jobs. Employers seem keen at first but when they realise who I am, I am rejected. I fear I will never be able to shake the octomum tag off.”

WalesOnline

Read: 51-year-old mom who carried daughter’s baby as surrogate delivers healthy girl

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Receiving Backlash

Marie has relied on government assistance and benefits for as long as she has been a mom. However, she has been able to subsidize her income by having small jobs here and there. The current lack of employment and recent cut to her benefits means she has had to ask for more help. Sadly, there are many people who share their food bank opinions with Marie, regardless of how hurtful they may be.

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Read: Mom says son has to ‘live in cupboard’ as family-of-10 cramped in 3-bed house

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Some of the abuse I receive is just vile. They call me a parasite, a s*** and they ‘hope I die soon’. Others say I’m a ‘scrounger’ and I’ve had threats of men coming to get me and ‘teach me a lesson’. It can be hell at times. I don’t know what people get out of being so horrible but they must just get sick kicks.”

WalesOnline

According to Marie, life has been difficult with needing to use a food bank to survive. However, the reactions from the public have been even harder to cope with.

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“It is very hard at times to read that stuff and horrible for the children as well. When you are feeling low it can really make you sink even lower. It has got to stop. People don’t understand the impact on someone who is in the limelight. I have contacted the police before due to the threats.”

WalesOnline

In the UK, if you are a parent to a child and earn less than £50,000 ($66k USD), benefits are not expected to be paid back. If you are a parent to a child under the age of 16, the benefit is paid every four weeks with no limit on the number of children you can claim.

Marie says she is eternally grateful for having a food bank to assist her. Currently, she is training to be a mechanic.

Keep Reading: College Isn’t For Every Young Adult–And It’s Time Parents Accept It

Sources

  1. Mum forced to use food banks to feed eight children after her benefits are cut.” Mirror. Andy Richardson. November 28, 2021.
  2. Food banks a ‘lifesaver’ for unemployed mother-of-eight after Child Benefit cut.” Express. Teresa Gottein Matinez. November 29, 2021.
  3. Mum-of-eight forced to use food banks to feed children after her benefits are cut.” Wales Online. Andy Richardson, Rhodri Harrison. November 29, 2021
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.
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