I first used the food bank 10 years ago when my son’s father took my last £20 and spent it on drugs. I went alone because he was ashamed to be seen there. I wasn’t – I always helped other people when I had a few pounds. I’ll scream from the rooftops that I’m using food banks because they’re branded, and they shouldn’t be. If it wasn’t for their rice, eggs, and bean tins, sometimes we wouldn’t have to eat.

I’ve been working almost my entire life and can’t stand people who are happy to sit on their asses and just get paid. I’ve done so many things, but mostly I’ve been in the hospitality industry, running bars or running a hotel. I even trained dolphins for a while, but that’s a long story and better left for another day.

I always felt like I was choosing the wrong man. I have two children and they have different dads. For several years, I had an on-and-off relationship with the father of my teenage daughter. He was incredibly cruel. I eventually testified against him in court and he was jailed. When he got out of jail he said he was rehabilitated and we tried again. Then I got pregnant, he followed me again, and I left him.

I have been with my son’s father for several years. Unfortunately, he became addicted to drugs and violence. When my daughter was 10 years old, he followed her. I told him to leave the house. He didn’t want to, so we did.

Money wasn’t easy when we were together because of his addictions, but it’s gotten even worse since then. For a while he gave me £50 or £60 for my son, but now I don’t get anything from any of the fathers. I said CSA [Child Support Agency] they were earning small sums, so one was ordered to pay £3.50 and the other £7, which no one did. It’s not a joke. If they were paying at least £50 a week for maintenance, it would make a huge difference. It will be an additional £400 per month for two and we will be able to live much more comfortably. The government really needs to come together when it comes to alimony, but they’re too busy partying on Downing Street to bother.

My struggle has affected my health. I’ve been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia, which means I’m in constant pain. I still manage to work but am limited to 16 hours a week because I have Esa. [employment and support allowance]i.e. for people with a disability or illness. I also get pip [personal independence payment]which adds up to about £250 every two weeks. My rent is paid and we are lucky to live in a three bedroom home, but the cost of living crisis is already having a huge impact on me and I feel things are about to get a lot worse.

Four months ago, I took a part-time job in a jewelry store where I served customers and repaired bracelets and necklaces. I love my job and the money certainly helps, but it’s still incredibly hard. It cost me £1.89 a liter the other day in my tiny Kia. I put ten, and still blinking that the tank is empty.

Last year my gas and electricity cost about £30 a week. Now 40-45 pounds. I’m constantly unplugging things to save money. I find myself saving on myself so that the children have enough food.

Over the past decade, I have found myself returning to the food bank regularly. Christmas I separated from my son’s father, they were brilliant. They gave us Christmas presents which was such a nice surprise. When I had some money, I collected a box of things to distribute. They help us, so we will help them whenever possible.

I thought about writing to Elon Musk and asking him for a £10,000 loan. For him, it should be about 20 pence – or less. I was going to say if I can borrow 10 grand from you and return it in 10 years. I could try again. Nothing to lose?

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