'I must feed my kids'

By cherie.taylor@age.co.nz

19 comments
The woman is on a benefit and said she was extremely grateful but once her bills were paid she was left with only $45 to buy food.
The woman is on a benefit and said she was extremely grateful but once her bills were paid she was left with only $45 to buy food.

A woman emerges from a Wairarapa supermarket's secure dumpster area, right in front of a reporter.

She bursts into tears, thinking she's been caught "dumpster-diving" for food.

Once she calmed down, she shared her financial plight and since then the Times-Age has found she isn't the only one reverting to thieving to feed children.

Four years ago the mother of three children and her husband lost their family business during the recession. They also lost their home and have been left with debts close to $80,000.

The woman, who was too embarrassed to be identified, said two years ago the stress got the better of her husband, who had resorted to "drinking his sorrows away", and he left.

The woman is on a benefit and said she was extremely grateful but once her bills were paid she was left with only $45 to buy food.

She has been to Work and Income with a budget advisor to see if she is eligible for any extra assistance - which she isn't entitled to, and she has used up her annual food grant quota.

At night, once her children are in bed, she heads out - diving in dumpsters and even stealing fresh milk and bread - something she says goes against everything she believes in. "You know when the chips are down and you need to feed your kids, a mother will do what she has to to feed them. I can't see my kids go hungry, so it's a matter of beg, steal or borrow."

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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