Young Sidmouth mum encourages others to not be ashamed of asking for help after food bank came to her rescue

PUBLISHED: 17:45 23 February 2018

David Cocker and his partner Melissa Seale, session leader Andie Milne and Shelley Feist.

David Cocker and his partner Melissa Seale, session leader Andie Milne and Shelley Feist.

Archant

A young Sidmouth mum has spoken out about her difficulties making ends meet to encourage others not to be ashamed to seek help.

Melissa Seale, 22, who lives in the town centre, has a one-year-old daughter and has been supported by Sid Valley Food Bank for last three weeks.

Melissa said she began to struggle when her partner lost his job and they had to claim benefits.

She added: “We were really struggling with money and we just didn’t know how we could get help until a friend told us about the food bank.

“I have never felt so welcome than when I first came in here. I felt like I shouldn’t need help.

“They have been fantastic. It has made it so I don’t have to worry so much that I’m struggling.

“I would like to encourage other struggling parents not to feel like they cannot come here for help.”

The food bank’s session leader Andie Milne said it is currently supporting 19 children, aged from four months to 16.

She added there was a shortage of baby items and appealed to Sidmouth residents for their help in supporting young families.

Andie said: “If people, when they are shopping, see something they would like, think about the families who are not able to afford it.

“We could really do with some baby items and things which can be used by young families, like ketchup – some people see it as essential and these families see it as a treat.”

Andie said the food bank could also really do with items like nappies, wipes and baby food.

Shelley Feist, 37, from Sidmouth, said the food bank had been supporting her and her four children, as well as her partner, on and off for a year.

She added: “When I first came here I had hit rock bottom. If it wasn’t for the food bank, I don’t know what I would have done.

“Sometimes it is just having somebody be there – they allow you to just sit down, have a cup of tea and let things of your chest.

“It is not just food they help you with, they help with support, too.”

There are donation points at churches around the town, as well as at Waitrose, the Co-op, Tesco, Spar, and at NatWest bank.

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