Food bank Britain: ‘I once wore Gucci and Armani and now I’ve got nothing’ says former businessman
Glen White once sported designer suits but now warns that food poverty can happen to anyone
By Dennis Ellam
9 Dec 2012
There were times, not so long ago, when he wore a Gucci watch and Armani suits. Today Glen White survives on handouts of free food.
“I’m one step away from starvation,” he admits. And he pulls out the pockets of his £10 jeans to show he doesn’t have a single penny in there.
“I never imagined I would be living this way… and believe me, if it can happen to somebody like me then it can happen to anyone,” he says.
It’s Glen’s third visit in three weeks to the charity food bank in the centre of Bradford and he starts the long walk home with a few more days’ worth of supplies in plastic carrier bags.
This doesn’t look like 21st century Britain. This looks like a struggle for survival in some abandoned land gripped by poverty and depression.
“I used to feel ashamed, but I don’t any more, because in the end you pass the point where you worry about what other people will think,” Glen says.
“All I had left in my kitchen to eat was an old packet of Bisto gravy granules and half a bag of rice.
“So I boiled up the Bisto to make a soup for breakfast, then mixed the rest with some rice for dinner, and that was it, all gone. It didn’t take so much to swallow my pride after that, and ask for help.”
At the Bradford food bank, laid out in a church hall amid grand stone buildings that used to be the offices of wealthy wool merchants, they fed 187 of the city’s hungry during November – 131 of them were adults, 56 were children and the total coming through the doors has more than doubled in four months.