Battling Queenslanders like Phillip are doing their very best for their kids but, through no fault of their own, they’re struggling to put food on the table.
Phillip had already been doing it tough, balancing his work as a painter with parenting as a single dad.
Then he was hit by multiple health issues at once. Swollen tendons combined with an excruciating pain in his shoulder that turned out to be a torn rotator cuff, which made it impossible for him to continue working in his painting business.
And even as he was coming to terms with this devastating news, Phillip was confronted with the reality that he wouldn’t be able to work for the foreseeable future, because of long delays for surgery.
Dealt with blow after blow, Phillip is still reeling. His savings have dried up, and despite trying harder and harder to make ends meet for his girls, things have only gotten worse.
“To know you can’t feed your children properly is the most gut-wrenching feeling as a single parent” Phillip says.
And even if he can somehow afford to buy some food, the reality is that Phillip can only stretch his money so far, and he feels it terribly as his girls miss out on so much.
“I can just imagine, you know, them watching their friends, with trendy clothes and some of the things they have, where my kids… I just can’t give that to them.”
Philip lives with his girls in a region still recovering from the horrific 2018 bush fires when COVID-19 knocked the community down again. It took away tourism and so many livelihoods. And the problems that started then have just grown for so many like Philip.
Phillip continues to endure his chronic health conditions that stopped him from working in the first place.
He’s juggling them with trying to be there for his two daughters, as a single dad.
Add to this his mum was just diagnosed with an incurable brain cancer, and will be living out the end of her days in Phillip’s two bedroom unit with him and his girls.
“She wants to come home, so she’s around friends and family. Things are pretty hard at the moment. I’m sleeping on the lounge.”
Thankfully, Phillip’s been getting help from Foodbank, which has made an enormous difference to his life as well as that of Carly and Indy.
Phillip especially loves how much fresh produce he receives, as he tries his best to ensure the girls are eating healthy food and growing strong.
“My girls they get excited every time a hamper turns up here. My little one, she lays it all out and she’s all “Oh look what we got, Dad!”
“Yeah, I skip meals to feed the girls, definitely. I don’t even really think about it. If there’s something, the girls get it.”
Phillip’s so proud of how Carlie and Indy are handling what’s happened to their family. “The two girls are my world. I can’t explain it. They are everything to me. Everything … They’ve seen what’s been happening with me and they do understand,” he shares.
Phillip’s youngest daughter Indy is just eight years old. She watches her dad struggle to decide between paying the bills and putting food on the table. No child should experience these agonising decisions. Hunger affects everyone in the family, physically and emotionally. Hunger affects everyone in the family, physically and emotionally. “The girls know what the situation is. But sometimes at the shop, Indy will ask for a lolly. Kids at that age do that. I try.”
Phillip held back tears when he shared how it makes him feel when he receives support from Foodbank:
“If you’re in the position where you can give to people like me, we are just, you know, really thankful for that. I’m just really, really thankful.”
Your compassion will provide fresh, nutritious meals to struggling families like Phillip’s!