Foodbank helps homeless Afghanistan hero

Lieutenant Kieran McCrystal, 25, walked barefoot to Hillingdon foodbank after his life fell apart due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following his time serving in Afghanistan. Coming to the foodbank has turned his life around.

On leaving the army, Kieran struggled to find a job and was evicted from his house after spending his life savings on rent, too proud to claim benefits. A new father, his PTSD forced him to split with the mother of his child, whom he had been saving up to marry. After spending two weeks on the streets, Lieutenant McCrystal, decided that he had to turn his life around. He went to the YMCA who provided temporary accommodation, but Kieran still needed food and was pointed to Hillingdon foodbank in Uxbridge for help.

The foodbank highlighted his predicament through their local newspaper.

Within 24 hours, Lt McCrystal was placed in accommodation. Now all he is seeking to complete his turnaround, is a job.


Skipping school to avoid embarrassment

A primary school boy from Gloucester stopped attending school recently because he could not face the embarrassment of having no money for lunch. On visiting his home to deliver a foodbank parcel, the school’s liaison officer discovered there was no food, except a little oats and milk. The mother’s purse was empty. The mother of two explained that her husband had left her and that the benefits were in his name. He had not been contributing towards child care since leaving and when she informed the Benefits Agency all benefits were stopped, including child benefit, because of her ‘change in circumstances’. The support worker estimated that it would take two to four months for the benefits to be re-assessed.

Officially, additional benefits like free school meals are not available to children unless parents can prove that they are in receipt of benefits. Fortunately, the foodbank was able to step in to help, enabling the boy to return to school.

Benefit delay and benefit re-assessment cause people across the UK to go hungry. Almost 40% of foodbank clients last year experienced benefit delay.


Foodbank helps homeless man get life back together

Having spent 22 years living on the street and struggling with alcoholism, Plymouth foodbank volunteer Mark says he has been given a new lease of life. First coming to the foodbank as a client, Mark now volunteers four days a week. He says:

Without the foodbank I’d probably be back on the streets, drinking and shoplifting for food. The foodbank has changed me as a person, it gives me a reason to get up. I love talking to people everyday and making them cups of tea. It’s such a privilege to be able to give something back to the foodbank because it turned my life around.

He adds:

It’s more than just a place to get emergency food, it’s a place where you can come and chat and make friends. I’ve gone from sleeping bag to flat and my next step is to get a job and live life to the full.