Gloucester mum doesn't eat just so her children have food
"I DON'T eat for four days a week just so my children have enough food."
Mum Vickie Robins, from Quedgeley, is struggling to make ends meet.
This festive season she said she will be forced to hide her sons' toys so she can give them out again as Christmas presents.
The 31-year-old even collapsed two weeks ago at her children's nursery after going for days without food and bearing the burden of such financial worry.
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Doctors told her, despite her good health, she was close to having a heart attack due to the stress she is under as she fights a constant battle to feed little Blake, three, and Thomas, 18 months.
It was after her recent scare she was handed a lifeline and referred to the Gloucester Foodbank.
"I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had to admit I needed handouts," said Vickie, who was made redundant from her £22,000 care job in September last year. I go without eating for days at a time, just to make the food last. Going to the Foodbank means we can all eat."
The Robins household has a monthly income of £1,400, with £900 going on the mortgage at their three bedroom house, and the rest is being evaporated by council tax, child care and bills.
"My husband Matthew and I have had to sell everything we possibly can - our clothes, jewellery, toys. We are not putting the heating on at home, we have been close to losing our house. Our relationship has become very strained," she said.
And it is not just food Vickie and Matthew, 31, cannot afford to buy.
"We won't be able to do Christmas this year," added Vickie, who currently has a part-time job to try and pay the bills.
"I have had to hide some of the boys' toys to use them as Christmas presents. We can't afford to go and see Father Christmas either.
"We can't take them to their friends' birthday parties because I can't afford to buy them presents. I am the only one not going to my work Christmas party because I can't afford it.
Vickie, who has shed two and a half stone in the last month, said the Foodbank's help had been vital.
She said: "I have been twice now. They have been a lifeline to us.
"If we hadn't had the food parcels we wouldn't have eaten. I have now learned not to be embarrassed, they do amazing work."