The food bank that ran out of food – because people can no longer afford to donate | UK News
Manager Tanisha Bramwell said: “We are completely out of food at this food bank.
“I was shocked in some ways but not in other ways. This is what I should expect because our list has grown and people are reaching out to more.”
Food bank volunteers admit it’s a worrying sign of how bad this is cost of living crisis when they are in trouble.
The first time Tanisha revealed it meant they had to give up the hungry.
She showed me the stockpile, which she said was pretty much empty when they ran out of money.
“A week ago we didn’t have any. I think we have five loaves of bread and very little canned goods. The essentials that we put in the food parcels – they are no longer here. I’ve run out of options.”
Tanisha said they made an urgent appeal and received a “salvage” allowing them to shop and restart deliveries.
But she says they are “taking advantage of each day as it comes” and are lurching from week to week.
Part of the problem is that the donors the food banks rely on have fallen on hard times.
“It is very difficult because we are in a very unpredictable situation and a situation that we have never been in,” Tanisha said.
“This is two years after a global pandemic. Businesses are no longer able to donate. Funding sources have ended and while the need is still there, the support system is not.”
Ziggy Rafiq, who has run a corner shop on Dewsbury Street for over 40 years, used to donate to Tanisha’s food bank but admits he can’t afford to anymore.
He proudly says his store is the “heart” of the community.
But he says things have changed “significantly”.
“I last donated a few months ago. But we couldn’t afford it. It was simple,” he said.
“I used to donate a lot of groceries; lots of bottles of wine and crisps and things like that from the store. When the kids were out of school, we used to sponsor sporting events. sports so they don’t get busy.
“We stopped it because we couldn’t afford to do it anymore. The budget was too tight.
“We feel terrible because we can’t donate the things we want to give.”
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Rafiq explained that the store simply wasn’t making enough money.
Wine for £4.99 a bottle
He told us that rising energy costs cost them £500 a week bills because they needed to power the large fridges in the store.
He’s tried all sorts of ways to keep the store afloat – including getting rid of higher priced food and alcohol because they simply don’t sell anymore.
The cheapest wine he sells is now £4.99 a bottle.
They have also reduced their opening hours because they are not receiving deals. In previous years, the corner shop was open from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm, but now it is 8 am to 8 pm.
“We sit here doing nothing,” said Ziggy.
Higher fuel prices, less transactions
They keep less stock in the store because it takes longer to sell and they can’t afford it past its expiration date.
Ziggy says “you see a lot” when working in a store.
He says there are fewer people driving around – he thinks because petrol and diesel prices. For Ziggy, that means fewer transactions passing.
“There was no money. It was the worst thing that ever happened. We never knew it was like this. It was very, very bad,” he said.
But there’s another side to the cost-of-living crisis – which shows the consequences of people’s financial desperation.
Other shop owners in Dewsbury tell us petty crime has increased.
Najeeb Rawufi said thefts at his store have tripled in the past few months.
They sell pretty much every little thing you can think of – and outside the store everything, from buckets to brooms, piles up.
“Usually they just come and get something,” he said, gesturing at the items on sale.
“It’s also very cheap – for £2 or £3 – and they walk away with it.”
Customers argue about the price
In the same store, another worker told us that customers argued over prices – prompting employees to resign to keep profit margins in some cases down to just a few cents. They can’t risk people not buying or upset them so they don’t come back.
Ahsan Hussain, the manager of a neighborhood grocer, says he has to deliver the most expensive products – such as baby formula – to the front of the store so he can keep an eye on them.
He recounted how a woman walked in and stole baby milk, putting it away in her stroller.
One delivery driver told us he couldn’t even leave the small crates in the back of his truck if it was unlocked – because they were stolen.
Dil Raish gestured with several packs of drinks, saying: ”I have to get a pack (from the truck) and close the door. “
I asked him if he thought people were stealing because of the cost of living crisis.
“One hundred percent,” he said.