Picture above: Clare, Mark, Ruby (14), George & Thomas (4)
Clare & Mark's Story
“Life was incredibly tough even before lockdown,” Clare explains. “There were days when I’d be hunting around the house trying to find any loose change I could so we could afford food for our dinner.” Having both been made redundant, Clare and Mark found it almost impossible to make ends meet. With work hard to find, Mark became a self-employed builder.
When lockdown first hit, this income dried up almost overnight. The impact was devastating. “It was heart-breaking. I couldn’t afford activities to keep the kids entertained, and there were times when they were hungry but we didn’t have enough food in the cupboards,” adds Clare.
The pressure and distress this was causing to the family was “almost unbearable”. However, it all changed when Shirley from New Brighton Baptist Church heard about their situation. The church had just started running TLG’s Box of Hope initiative, so Shirley quickly came round with their first delivery of emergency food and activities for the children.
“The relief when that first parcel arrived was absolutely incredible. It was a God-send,” Clare says emotionally. The activities brought the family closer together, and Clare would get the other children on their street involved as well.
Things are still tough for the family, and they are anxious about the challenges that the winter months will bring, but you can hear the relief in her voice when she says “just knowing Shirley and her church are there for us makes all the difference.” Clare has already volunteered to cook at future church outreach events, to help provide others with the same support that has been a life-line for them.