I work part-time in a warehouse and have done since I left school; it’s all I know really. With my pay and the benefits we get, we can meet our rent and bills but it doesn’t cover all of our necessities, so that’s why I started coming to Freedom for my lunch – it stops me from being starving hungry. I don’t make enough with my work to buy enough food for us, but my options are pretty limited as I don’t have qualifications to do anything else.
I’d known about Freedom for a while before I came here. I didn’t come earlier because I didn’t think they would be able to help me – I’m not homeless and I don’t have a problem with drink or drugs. But a friend of a friend told me that they help anyone who needs it and so I thought ‘why not?’ Since then I‘ve been coming most days that I can, as long as my shifts at the warehouse don’t stop me finding the time.
Now that I know I can rely on the meals here and I can also bring a takeaway home to my girlfriend, each month we budget around that. The food is always cooked properly and it tastes good. I know I’m getting something that not only fills me up, but is good for me too. My girlfriend can’t come with me because she suffers from severe anxiety, so the takeaways make a huge difference to her. She doesn’t cook for the same reason, and neither do I, we don’t even have a cooker in our flat. The food bank can help sometimes, but we aren’t always able to go there and when we can, we can’t always get the kind of food that we are able to prepare at home, at Freedom though I can come every day, I don’t need to apply for the lunch, it’s just free to anyone who wants it.
After I’ve had something to eat I like to stay around if I can. If I need help with any forms I can get it from the Day Centre staff. They’ve helped me put together a CV and I’m planning on applying for more work so that we can stand on our own feet a little more. Sometimes though, it’s nice to be able to just relax and play pool or something with the other people here. Everyone is really friendly and no one judges you for being here, we’ve all made the step to ask for help and try to improve our situations. Being here helps me to forget for a while about all the pressure of making ends meet and not quite being able to do that.
Without the free meals here I don’t know how we’d manage. We’d definitely eat less than we do now, and definitely be hungry all the time. This way though, we have enough food to live and then the energy to try and change our situation, plus the help to make the right steps in that direction. I’m so glad I bothered to come here, now I feel like I can change things for us for the better and I’m getting the help that I need to do that. I’m not falling anymore; I’m climbing towards something brighter for the both of us.
You can help people like Steve here.