Poverty, illness and living on less than the minimum wage video

MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Lynlie Beazley talks about surviving on $22 a week.

The last time there was fresh produce on the table was more than two years ago.

After covering her basic expenses, Lynlie Beazley survives on just $22 per week and sometimes she sleeps on an empty stomach. 

The west Auckland resident described herself as the "face of poverty" in the country. 

Lynlie Beazley says living on $22 a week is impossible.
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Lynlie Beazley says living on $22 a week is impossible.

"I don't know how I live each day."

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Beazley said she would not be able to survive without food parcels from The Salvation Army.

Lynlie Beazley with a food parcel from The Salvation Army.
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Lynlie Beazley with a food parcel from The Salvation Army.

She is one of a growing number of people knocking on the charity's door for help. 

Her weekly benefit was about $236, but she only had $22 after rent, expenses, and hire purchase payments.    

Beazley, a Housing NZ tenant, said this was enough for two bottles of milk, three loaves of bread and a tray of eggs.

Lynley Beazley says she would not be able to survive without food parcels from The Salvation Army.
MAHVASH ALI/STUFF

Lynley Beazley says she would not be able to survive without food parcels from The Salvation Army.

And if the 41-year-old wanted to live a bit recklessly, she bought tobacco – but mostly she fuelled her habit by smoking cigarette butts people had thrown away.

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She walked everywhere. She got her clothes from the piles of discarded items behind The Salvation Army in New Lynn.

Her shoes were given to her by a homeless person and she only topped up her mobile phone when friends or family helped.

She did not have a landline or internet.

"I get four sausages from The Salvation Army, so I cut them up into six and cook them with noodles.

"If I get given too much self-raising flour I mix it with left over oil and make fried-bread."

 Previously, Beazley had been living in a boarding house and most costs were included in the rent.

But Beazley took out a $1000 loan for a fridge and other basic necessities when she moved into her new home in March.

"I don't know if I can go on any longer."

Salvation Army welfare national Practice Manager Jono Bell said they helped 10,555 individuals and families around the country with food parcels between April and June – an 8 per cent increase on the same period last year

"For many people we see food parcels are a temporary measure to help them out in a crisis, such as losing their job, but we do have a number of clients who rely on food parcels for survival, because their income is not enough to meet their needs.

"The rising cost of food on top of the increasing rents we've seen in the past few years have been a major factor in this." 

 - Stuff

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