Advent Sunday - Poverty Stories Part 1
Posted on November 30th, 2014 at 1:01PM
As part of our Christmas campaign, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight some 'Poverty Stories'. So many times, poverty is equated with a certain group of people but in our experience, as we see a wide variety of requests posted on the Acts 435 website, poverty (in the sense of not having enough money to purchase basic essentials) can suddenly come upon us as a secondary result of some other problem.
As we encourage people to decorate an Acts 435 Christmas Tree to raise awareness of the plight of UK people in need and ask people to consider giving #anothergift to help people with a basic necessity this Christmas, we plan to highlight on each of the 4 Sundays of Advent and then on Christmas Day some true stories of how people find themselves struggling financially, often through no fault of their own.
Poverty Story #1
Chris graduated from University but could not find a permanent job. He found himself on zero hour, part-time, and seasonal contracts. As such he never knew what his pay would be making it very difficult to budget. He struggled on a weekly basis to eat, often having only one proper meal a day. He choose to run his car to take him to work or to eat. He lived on the breadline so that when his car broke down, he had no money to repair it. He would not put any heating on and would huddle in his duvet. When he lost a work contract he could not claim job seekers allowance because normally by the time his claim was processed, he was back in employment so at times he would live for 2 weeks with no income at all.
Chris eventually snapped and went into depression. He gave up and his car was left parked on the road and when the tax and insurance needed renewing, he let them lapse, resulting in fines. Things has gone into a downward spiral at an ever-increasing speed.
Thankfully Chris had family support and with their help he got back on track. Chris now has a good, permanent job, a new car and steady income.
Poverty Story #2
Janette is a single mum of 4 young children. The youngest child, 6 months old, was rushed to hospital with breathing difficulties in the early hours of the morning. The baby was critical for 24 hours. Naturally Janette was distraught but still had to find childcare for her 3 other children. All of this meant she forgot and missed an interview at the Benefits Agency. Her benefits were therefore sanctioned for 28 days leaving her with no money, no savings, no food, no gas and no electricity.
When you live on the breadline, the sudden absence of income can have a truly dramatic effect. Acts 435 seeks to help people in those moments of crisis.