Can you help #foodbankchallenge reporter smash £1,000 target for vital charity SufraNW London?
PUBLISHED: 10:22 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:41 06 November 2019
Half way through a Stonebridge charity's #foodbankchallenge and I'm buckling, struggling and can't wait for it to be over.
Fortunately for me it's a five day fundraiser for Sufra Foodbank & Kitchen NW London which desperately needs funds and donations to meet demand for the thousands of poverty stricken clients they feed.
I'll be honest, when my parcel arrived on Saturday and I read the list of non-perishable food contained in it my heart sank.
I knew it would contain no fresh vegetables but porridge had been overlooked for cereal, there was no coffee and no condiments.
No onions, no salt and pepper but tea bags and a giant bag of sugar that threw me back to my own statutorily homeless years where I drank endless cups of tea (milk, two sugars) and chain smoked my way through packets of tobacco (cheaper than ready rolled).
I'd prepare meals for my son and eat with him.
The Pitfield Way charity launched in 2013, the year my own eviction battles ended and I was able to progress in my low paid job and turn my back on this life on welfare.
Things have got worse for people since things got better for me, helped alongwith secure, cheaper housing.
Rents have sky-rocketed, a bedroom tax and a two-child benefit limit were introduced and housing benefit caps were lowered.
Brent has the 14th highest levels of child poverty in the UK according to figures from the Child Poverty Action Group.
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More than 45pc of children in Brent live in extreme poverty, according to figures from End Child Poverty.
In the last two years the total number of recipients to Sufra's headquarters have risen by a staggering 152pc, according to its own figures.
The 340 people awaiting benefits is two less than last year but the number of low income families has risen from 111 last year to 203 this year.
In a society of "haves" and "have-nots" these are the "have-even-less".
When I looked into my parcel I was pleasantly surprised. Tinned beans and tuna made up the protein and tinned potatoes, sweetcorn, mushrooms the veg.
The life-saver for me is the jar of onion and garlic tomato pasta sauce - add the spice from the super noodle packet and I can make myself a curry.
I take pasta to work every day but I come home hungry and go to bed hungry. It's playing havoc with my guts too.
The starvation feelings are not unlike what some people might experience on a diet but it's not a diet. The end goal is not a liver detox after a series of antibiotics or losing weight for the Christmas Party.
Sufra's vital end goal is to keep people alive until their benefit payments come through or their bill payments go down.
How much worse is this crisis going to get?
Please give what you can to help. Go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NathalieRaffray1