An Empty Plate: Jack’s Story

Jane Corbett shares a powerful story of a seven-year-old boy living in poverty in Everton, Liverpool.



Jane Corbett shares a powerful story of a seven-year-old boy living in poverty in Everton, Liverpool.

This is a short clip from a longer interview for our Life & Faith podcast. Listen to the full interview here.


JANE CORBETT: I was working with a family where the little lad was found by his mum – his mum doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke, hasn’t got a flat-screen television – was found peeling wallpaper off the wall to eat at tea time, because they literally hadn’t got anything to eat. This is a couple of years ago, and it’s still happening now – not to this particular family, but to others. And so I supported them and helped out there.

And then I said to the mum, “How does your little one cope with the emotion of all this? Does it make him very angry, is he very depressed about it, how does he get his emotions out?” I said, “Is he any good at drawing, or drama?” She said, “He loves drawing.” So I said, “Would he like to do me some drawings about it?”

So she had a chat with him, and he said, “Yes – if it helps other kids in Liverpool.” So I said, “Brilliant.” And I said, “What are we going to call you? Because we can’t call you by your real name because it’s a bit too scary if the right-wing press are outside your door.” He said, “I want to be called Jack, like Jack Sparrow!” So I said, “Okay, we’ll call you Jack.”

So he drew me a picture of an empty plate and he said, “Do you see food?” He drew me a picture of, again, an empty plate, that then had ‘Africa’ and then ‘Liverpool’ over the top of it, and then he said, “Because I’ve heard kids in Africa are hungry too.”

And then he came up with this quote – he was seven at the time – he came up with this quote – and this little kid thought he was worthless, so if you go back to the Christian faith, God is saying “You are really, really important” and I constantly say that and text his mum because she lives off these texts saying “You’re a cracking little kid Jack, keep going” – he thought he was worthless, but he came up with this brilliant quote that said, “Listen to me. You’re grown-ups. This is bad. You are being bad, unless you do somethink (with a ‘k’) about it.”