A mum-of-four says she went SIX DAYS without food so her children could eat during the school holidays.
Sadie Drew, 30, struggled to feed her kids and has had to turn to a food bank for help.
To feed her children Sadie, from Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, like many others parents in the UK, relies on free school meals during term time.
But when schools break up Sadie is left to find the extra food, and to make up the deficit she once went nearly a week without food.
Now, Sadie is using her local CPR food banks to help feed the kids.
She said: "Kids don’t stop eating, boredom kicks in and they replace that with food, and they just eat."
"Whereas in school they have certain snack times, and they are getting education, they are busy and their minds are ticking all the time.
"When that’s not happening, they are just hungry all the time.
"It doesn’t help when benefits cut you down from £168 a week to £116.
"It was tax credits, they decided they overpaid us two years ago, and they are taking it back at astronomical rates."
Sadie says she feels no shame about using the food bank, because the welfare of her children is at stake.
"My kids need to eat, and pride goes out the window when it involves children. If it was me, I’d starve.
"I have done it for my children. Before I knew about the Foodbank and that I could get help, I was a single mum to my two girls and I didn’t eat for six days straight.
"Without this place, it would be a major struggle."
Don Gardner, who runs the CPR food banks at Camborne, Redruth and Pool, said children would go hungry this summer because their families relied on free school meals.
"On the first day of the holidays this year we gave out over 800 meals out in two hours," he said. "That was a big afternoon we had. It made a very big dent in our stock. Two years ago we did 3,000 meals during the school holidays.
"We expect an increase in users because during term children are offered free school meals, and then suddenly mum’s got two or three children at home and got to feed them for six weeks. And we’re prepared for that.
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"This year it’s been busier than previous holidays.
"When we did the children’s meals during the school holidays before, the parents came in and picked up lunches for the children, but now we’re getting whole families in.
"It’s very difficult for people to suddenly find themselves to being able to support their children, and we’re here to support that."
Don is urging anyone struggling to feed their children or pay bills to visit the food bank.
"We are here to support the problem, so if it’s a genuine problem, ask for me and we’ll sit down and talk.
"It might not even be food that’s the problem, so we also have professionals coming in on Tuesdays to advise on housing, benefits, electricity and gas bills."
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