Alex knows first hand what it’s like to go without.

Alex is a mother of four beautiful children who are as amazing as their mum: 11-year-old Amelyia, eight-year-old Izabella, six-year-old Archie and five-year-old Peyton.

The courage with which Alex is fighting to keep all four of her kids safe from abuse, poverty and the pandemic will leave you inspired. You see, although Alex and her children are holding on right now, they are not yet out of the woods. In fact, Alex is worried that the festive period may be their hardest yet.

What Alex has endured is unimaginable. Alex shared with us that the downward spiral that led to empty cupboards began when the father of her children turned to violence.

She did escape, even though she knew doing so would leave her with the challenge of bringing in an income and still parenting four young children on her own. Somehow Alex managed to keep her family afloat, which is no small achievement when you consider her work involves providing in-home aged care and disability care – an exhausting job and one filled with anxiety throughout this pandemic.

It was a difficult time, I’m sorry to tell you that things were a bout to get worse. As Alex explains:

“I began a relationship with a man who seemed so gentle and kind, but to my horror, I found out he was abusing my daughters. I had to get the kids away from him fast, and waiting in hope that I might receive social housing was simply not an option. So I rented a house privately in another town, and moved my family far away from him.

It was a terrifying time, but we managed it – and thank goodness we did, as it was only a few weeks later that the pandemic took hold and we had our first lockdown. The thought of being stuck inside a house with that man…it’s too awful to contemplate.”

Alex was fortunate indeed to escape when she did. It was her quick thinking and courage that spared her own kids such a fate, but doing so came at a desperately high cost:

“Trying to find the money for a private rental during COVID has been a nightmare. With four little kids, it’s often just not possible to make ends meet.

It’s still hard for me to speak about the moment I realised there simply wasn’t enough food in the pantry, or money in my account to get us through the week. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more ashamed than I did in that moment. I took a deep breath and told myself, Okay. I need to sort this out.’ I swallowed my pride and with Peyton, my youngest by my side, we went down to the Community Centre. I tried to make it seem like and adventure.

Having her with me reminded me why I was there: for my kids. She helped me put my feelings of inadequacy to one side. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt when I saw the food that was laid out before us – food that I later learned came directly from Foodbank Victoria. I went home that day, hand in hand with Peyton, feeling a thousand times lighter.”

Alex’s story is one of many. It is thanks to the generosity of Victorians like you that we can continue to ensure food is on the table of those most vulnerable.