Oxford Mutual Aid is entirely volunteer run. This project is all about helping each other, and we are committed to being grounded in the communities we work in. Many of our volunteers also receive support, and many people we support go on to volunteer.
Cherwell Larder and Kitchen Collective volunteer Mona works hard to help bring good food to her community in Kidlington and Oxford.
Mona began participating in mutual aid after using Cherwell Larder herself. “We’d received some pizza bases in our delivery and there were a lot of fresh tomatoes that needed cooking,” Mona told me. “My youngest child, who is just eight, had lots of fun making a tomato sauce and choosing fresh toppings for his pizza. It was such a delight to watch that I took photos and sent them to Doctor Emily [Emily Connally, who leads the larder] to thank her for the goods.”
“Every delivery (very much anticipated by my children) made us think about the food we eat, from how we cook it to how we avoid wasting it. We started posting creative meal ideas on Facebook in the hope that people would benefit from some new creative cooking meals. Some nutritious and wholesome miracles can be made with a handful of fresh vegetables, spaghetti, and fruit. One of our members posted a fabulous mango salsa which I thought was a brilliant idea. This kind of connection on social media is motivating, educational and a boost for our mental health. I believe that creative cooking and healthy eating are vital to our wellbeing in so many ways.”
“I see the deliveries as care packages, not just the contents but the selflessness and dedication that goes into every single box. People from all over our communities are lending a hand and Covid -19 has brought us back together for all the right reasons.”
Mona’s kitchen, The Climitarian Kitchen, are launching their cafe on 2nd October. They plan to run cooking courses starting in November, with professional chefs teaching classes every week. To learn more about Mona’s work and cooking, visit her blog.
As many people go back to work and university, we are finding it more difficult to recruit volunteers. If you can help, even if it’s just for a couple of hours per week after work, please visit our volunteering page or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. There are opportunities to get involved with a wide range of activities, from packing food parcels to grant writing. Join in to become part of a network of organisers, learn new skills, and help your community help itself.