'I'd be starving' - How charities in Birmingham are helping people through the cost of living crisis

ITV News Central journalist Hannah Norbury reports.


On a cold, dark, rainy night in November, almost two hundred people are stood outside, queuing for a hot meal in Birmingham. For some, it's the first time they've eaten all day.

And as the cost of living crisis worsens, and we feel the pinch just that bit more, the queues are only expected to get longer.

The charity, Who Is Hussain, run a hot food drive on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 7pm. People from all walks of life can get hot food, a hot drink and a sweet.

The queue at Temple Row in Birmingham Credit: ITV News Central

Paul, who volunteers at several charities, often struggles with his finances. He told ITV News Central he doesn't know where he would be without the food drive.

He said: "I'd be really struggling, I don't know where I would be, I would worry, because sometimes it's the only chance we have to have a square meal."

Another man told us he's using charities like this one more and more, due to the cost of living, he said: "Gas and electric is horrendous, I got home last night and lit candles, instead of putting the lights on.

"I'm always looking around for food."

Another told us without the food drive, he'd be "starving himself."

Kassim Mawji, the team leader at Who is Hussain said: "We see people from all walks of life, we see lots of professional people, who just can't afford that one hot meal. It's sad to see and it's only going to get worse."

Just steps away from the hot meal drive, the charity Be Kind hands out food supplies for the week, for people to take home.

Queenie, a volunteer at Be Kind, said: "It makes me feel sad, because a lot of people are hungry, they are devastated in different ways and this is a lifeline for them."

As night turns to day, other charities across Birmingham start preparing to help people access food.

The food pantry helps nearly 50 families at the moment Credit: ITV News Central

ITV News Central spoke to people using a food pantry in Saltley. Here, food is discounted.

One person said: "I've got special needs children, I look after my daughter, so I can't go out to work, so coming and grabbing a few things here is great for us.

Another said: "It's a shame really, because we are getting more like a third world country, not a country that is supposed to be rich. It's stupid.

"Everything's gone up, but your wages don't go up, your pension doesn't go up."

Donations are starting to slow down Credit: ITV News Central

Food banks are also feeling the hit.

Las month, Aston and Nechells food bank spent between £1,500-£2,000 to keep enough stock to feed the people coming through the door.

During the same period they gave out nearly 4,000kg of food.

But, they are slowly seeing donations decreasing.

Suzi Lea, from the food bank, said: "I think we will find, our regular donors were low income families themselves, and they are actually now in a position where they can't donate to us.