“We just don’t have enough to give to everyone,” he said, his voice wavering. “I don’t know what is going to happen next week.”
People across Britain are confronting similar problems.
At the Blackburn Food Bank, in the north of England, more people with full-time employment are turning up as wages have not kept up with the inflation.
“People are very shocked that they have to be here,” said Gill Fourie, operations manager at Blackburn. “People don’t even have gas and electricity to cook,” she said, referring to mounting household energy prices which are forecast to climb to 3,500 pounds (about $4,240) a year in October, triple what they were a year ago. She added, however, that the facility continued to receive support from the community.
Even people who are in less vulnerable situations have had to watch their wallets.
“I would love to get some Mutti, but I cannot afford it,” said Melanie McHugh, an actress, as she looked at cans of tomato sauce at her local supermarket in south London. She said she was going to make shakshuka, a vegetable dish that could last for several days. She went for a cheaper brand of sauce.
Ms. McHugh, who has stopped buying butter, also grabbed a lower cost brand of chorizo.
“I am aware that I am lucky,” she said. “But I am also aware my habits have changed.”
The British government has allocated £15 billion (about $18 billion) in benefits for the most vulnerable families. Ms. Smith, the mother of three, said she had received about 300 pounds this month. She has also stockpiled laundry soap, but said that did not ease her worries. She has started thinking of giving up her car and getting another job, as a cleaner, on weekends.
“It’s not what I would like to do,” she said. “But you have to do what you need to survive.”