Sabine Decnop (30) and her sons Jovani (8) and Elvi-Jay (6) have had structural financial problems for several weeks due to the ever-increasing inflation. Previously, the minima family managed to ‘end up fine on 80 euros a week’, but nowadays the single mother can no longer manage on 100 euros. “Every Friday I receive the money from my administrator, and lately it’s usually almost gone by Tuesday afternoon.”
Inflation in the Netherlands rose further in August to 12 percent compared to the same month last year. It is the highest figure ever measured in the Netherlands, and it is here food bank in West Frisia and even middle income earners are already aware of this.
Sabine (30), who lives in a single-family house in Lutjebroek with her sons, has also noticed for a number of weeks that she does not have enough left in the week. Eight years ago, the mother ended up in debt restructuring. Fortunately, she has since paid off her debts, but she is still in administration and unable to work because she is still struggling with depression.
She receives 100 euros every week from her administrator. With that amount, Sabine buys the basic necessities, but due to rising gas prices and inflation, she can no longer do so.
“Last Friday I received 100 euros from my administrator”, explains Sabine in her kitchen. “At the moment there is still 8.70 euros left and I have to make do with that until next Friday.”
Previously, Sabine got into financial problems because she looked away from the blue letters after losing her job as a security guard. In the end, she still called because she began to worry about her children.
“Of course you feel ashamed and you feel like a huge failure if you can’t take care of your children”
“Of course you feel ashamed and you feel like a huge failure if you can’t take care of your children.” Nevertheless, Sabine hopes with her story to convince other low-income families that things can be done differently. “It is of course very difficult to ask for help from this situation. But you can be seen, and you also belong to this community, even if you have less.”
Because Sabine herself increasingly tries to ask for help, she notices that help can come from all possible angles.
Sabine has an interview at the food bank next week, and after being rejected twice, she hopes to be able to claim the weekly food parcels. Anyone with a net amount of up to 250 euros (one-person household) can knock on the door of the food bank in Vestfriesland for food and clothing. After a comprehensive interview, it will be checked whether you really qualify.
To save money, Sabine showers herself with cold water, and thanks to a gift, she can wash her hair at a nearby swimming pool. “I let my kids take a hot shower.” Despite Sabine’s optimism, she slowly begins to worry about the upcoming winter that threatens.
“Of course, this means even more costs”, sighs Sabine, who has already looked into how to keep heating costs as low as possible. “Heaters off, windows closed, and I’ve seen the jars that tealights go in. They seem to give off a lot of heat, so I’ll see if that helps this winter.”
Sabine expects that there are many other families in West Friesland who are in the same situation as her. “I tell them: get up and try to ask for help, because it’s okay and you’re not alone.”
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