Single mum ‘forced to steal food’ to feed her anorexic daughter

A single mum-of-three claims she has been forced to steal food to provide for her anorexic daughter who weighs just 5.5 stone (36kgs).

Mum Narelle, 44, who's name has been changed for privacy reasons, suffered two strokes in September 2017 that left her permanently disabled and unable to work.

She was therefore forced to apply for benefits in Melbourne, Australia, which Narelle said made her feel like she was a "part of society".

Authorities increased the mum’s payments from $350 (£192) a fortnight to $885 (£493) during the pandemic, which enabled her to fully provide for her family, including her daughter, who is recovering from anorexia.

But Narelle’s benefits have now dropped back to $350, leaving her with just $20 per fortnight for food to feed her sick 18-year-old.

Her financial situation is so bad the mum claims she has turned to stealing to make sure her daughter is well fed and clean.

Narelle told 7News she stole bananas, milk, bread, washing detergent, shampoo and conditioner to last them the month.

One of the stores she went to even caught Narelle, letting her off with a warning, which made the mum realise she can't "make a habit of stealing food".

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She said: "I feel really ashamed doing that, it's so shameful, it's embarrassing but it’s either that, or I eat noodles or baked beans or go without."

Sadly, Narelle’s two older daughters, aged 24 and 26, are unable to help their mum.

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Narelle also claimed her application for disability support was rejected by the Australian government in March 2020.

Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said Narelle's situation is "extremely difficult" and have now contacted the mum to ensure she's "receiving all available support."

He added that the "clear criteria set down in legislation" meant they couldn't help Narelle any further.

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