Left penniless due to delays in her Universal Credit, heavily pregnant mum Carla Toomey had no choice but to rely on charity to help her buy the basics for her new tot.
The 41-year-old is just one of many desperate people turning to baby banks as cruel Tory austerity cripples those who need help the most.
And the crisis is being fuelled by benefits cuts, a charity has warned.
Baby Basics, which started in Sheffield 10 years ago and provides supplies such as nappies, clothes and wipes to skint mums for free, has had a 93% rise in people needing its services between 2016 and last year.
The figures come as former PM Gordon Brown warns the nation is relying on an “army of volunteers to deal with our rising epidemic” of hardship among working families, ahead of new figures on child poverty out this week.
Baby Basics chief Cat Ross said: “I think the growth we have seen over the last 10 years shows there is knock on effect to government cuts and the need is increasing.”
Little Village runs three baby banks in London and the number of families referred to them has risen from 773 in 2017 to 1,524 in 2018.
Chief executive Sophia Parker said: “We see mums unable to pay for nappies and food for their children, babies sleeping on towels and broken beds, families living in single rooms with nowhere to cook or play.
“It’s hard to convey how difficult the circumstances are that many find themselves in.
“I’m shocked by the dramatic rise in the number of families we’ve seen and the sheer level of need we’ve uncovered.
“These are families on the edge of crisis. There is no cushion for them to fall back on.
"When you see people working and not being able to afford nappies that ’s really shocking.”
Carla, of Camden, North London, turned to Little Village when she was hit with her benefits payment delay.
Her second child is due any time now and she had no way of buying the basics most parents take for granted.
She said: “When I first came, my jaw hit the ground. I just cried, I was so overwhelmed by it all, by the kindness.
“They’ve given me absolutely everything I need for my baby… buggy, clothes, nappies, dummies, the lot. Having this support is one less thing for me to worry about.”
At Cwtch Baby Bank in Taffs Well, near Cardiff, the number of families visiting rose from 300 in 2016 to 766 last year, a 155% surge.
Founder Hilary Johnston said: “There is definitely a greater need. We are giving out more baby packages to pregnant mums month by month.
“Government cuts have made a big difference and Universal Credit. We are also seeing a lot more families needing help, not just single mums.”
Leeds Baby Bank launched in 2017 and was visited by just one or two mums but now it helps up to 16 a week.
Supervisor Jackie Appleton, 52, said: “One family literally only owned what they wore. Another man came last week to collect a carrying unit so he could take his child home from hospital.
“I have had women cry into my arms and some who have told me they don’t know what they would do without me.”
Baby Basics started in Sheffield but now has 34 units across the UK.
Baby banks supply pregnant women or those with children aged five and under. They are referred by health professionals.
Charity The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has demanded an end to benefits cuts to help people out of poverty.
The group’s Helen Barnard said: “Baby banks do good work, but it is morally indefensible that they are needed at all.
“It’s not right that more than 300,000 babies start their lives in poverty in this country, or that so many of them are in working families.”
A government spokesman said: “We spend £90billion a year to support those who need it.
“We have introduced the National Living Wage, doubled free childcare for three and four year olds, cut taxes for 32 million people and made Universal Credit improvements.”
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