Meet the brave parents who admit they skip meals to feed their kids

Kate Worby and her partner Charles Skudder care for their three children, but as the cost of living crisis deepens for families like their own, they turn to increasingly desperate measures to make ends meet

Kate Worby and Charles Skudder with their three children
Kate Worby and Charles Skudder with their three children

Struggling parents have admitted they are skipping meals to ensure they can feed their children.

Amid the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, ordinary families are finding themselves under more pressure than ever and forced to take increasingly desperate measures.

Kate Worby and her partner Charles Skudder described how they struggled to “keep their heads above water”.

Together they look after three children aged eight, four and almost a year, Devon Live reports.

The 29-year-old mother has three jobs as a caretaker, cleaner and child entertainer, while Charles, 29, is a full-time student who also runs a valet service and worked nights as a caretaker until the house recently closed and also helped with Kate’s entertainment business.

The couple said something went fundamentally wrong when they worked, were on universal credit and still couldn’t afford to live


Devon Live/BPM MEDIA)

Not only do they skip meals to keep the kids full, but they only heat the kids’ room indoors and take a calculator to the grocery store to make sure they stay within their tight budget.

Kate said: “We always try to keep our heads above water, as I’m sure is true for a lot of families.

“Everything’s going up, but wages aren’t matching it, so we need to stretch our money even further.

“Physically, we can’t work more hours than we already work. God knows how long we haven’t had a day off.

“It’s a constant battle in your head, you think, can I justify not taking the extra shift? Often we just do it because we have to. We’re both just so stressed out.”

The couple puts the well-being of their three children above their own


Devon Live/BPM MEDIA)

She added: “The children will always come first. They get a free school lunch, but if they come home from school really hungry, I’ll cook them a meal, even if it was for me and Charles, or I’ll try to extend the meal to fill it out, e.g. B. with frozen vegetables.

“When Charles and I don’t eat enough, it takes its toll. I’m so tired because I haven’t really eaten in three days.

“Either we don’t eat, or we eat one meal a day between us, even if it’s just cheese on toast. It’s not enough, but at least it’s something. For many families, this is a very real thing.”

Describing herself as a “savvy spender,” Kate said she was always on the lookout for the best bargains, but that they weren’t able to splurge on some snacks, like biscuits, that others took for granted.

She uses the calculator on her phone when she goes shopping to make sure they never overspend.

Kate admitted it can be embarrassing when her calculations don’t quite add up and she has to leave food at the register.

She added: “I’ve heard the term heat or food many times, but for us it’s not really the case. It’s heat less, eat less.

“We can’t decide between the two because we have a small baby, so we have to heat his bedroom and the other children’s rooms, but nowhere else.

“We limit ourselves to only heating the rooms that absolutely have to be heated. Luckily we’re getting back to summer, but it’s going to be a massive problem in winter. Extra coats and sweaters will be put on.”

The couple rented a three-bed apartment and were forced to spend the money they had saved for their bail.

Kate said: “We have never been overly greedy and have always lived within our means. Our rent has gone up, which has hit us hard.

“At the same time, everything else has gone up, like council taxes and energy bills. All climbs build up, so we have to watch every penny we spend.

“We don’t drink, smoke, go out, or have hobbies. We literally just go to work and take care of the kids.

“I don’t know what we’re doing wrong overall, working so hard and being stuck in this loop.

“We just have to keep going and hope that one day things will get better. Hopefully when Charles graduates from university he will start earning a good salary, but until then we just have to make it week by week.

“I also hope that by talking about how we fight it can raise awareness and the big wigs could be like, ‘hang oo, that’s not fair.’

“We work, we get Universal Credit and we’re still struggling. Something went wrong somewhere for this to happen.”

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