Offaly poverty activist Ken Smollen has revealed the story of an Offaly woman who felt so strapped for cash recently that she walked to her local supermarket to steal formula in order to feed her baby. In a plea to Ken, who runs the Ken Smollen Food Appeal, and helps hundreds of families around the region with food and daily essentials, the woman explained her situation.
Ken anonymously posted the message he received from the woman on Facebook.
The Birr woman wrote: "Please would you be able to help me? I found myself going to the supermarket last night to steal formula for my baby because I ran out. I picked up the tin of food and walked to the door but I just couldn't take it so I left it on a shelf and walked out."
"I got so desperate that I went to steal," she said. "I got home and had no choice but to give my baby a bottle of cows milk. I know you've helped me before and I really didn't want to ask but I am desperate. If you can't help me I understand. I don't get any money until Friday and even now I don't have enough cows milk to do me until then. Please can you help," the woman continued.
Ken has said he "will be there this evening with food for this lady and her children, including formula and nappies for her baby." "I'll be leaving shortly with food for her and in fact, four other families in Offaly have contacted me since this morning. The reason for the delay is that two families in the same area have requested that I call to them after dark as they don't want neighbours and friends knowing about their situation." Ken explained.
"We don't normally deal with fresh or perishable food as we simply don't have storage facilities for it, but it's obvious that this family also needs milk and bread too so I'll get some today," he said.
This is the package Ken plans to deliver to the desperate Birr mother
Ken sees the poverty in Offaly first hand and expressed complete dismay at the current situation. "I'm ashamed and more than angry at the lack of care shown by politicians who allow so many families to live in desperation while continuing to talk about a recovery. The reality for so many is very different," he added.
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