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Weekly update 04/09/22

We have had another busy week at O.M.A. We provided nearly 1000 people with their regular (weekly) parcel of food and other essential supplies. In addition to that, we delivered emergency parcels to 300 people on the day that they contacted us. We distributed food to many local community groups, saving tonnes of surplus food from food waste.

Alongside the incredible Oxford Food Hub, we were visited by ITV to speak about the challenges facing us this winter. We will hopefully be featured on Monday. Following that, the BBC came to visit in relation to our nomination for the make a difference awards.  

Cost of living crisis

The cost of living crisis is ever deepening, with many facing increasingly difficult times. We are alarmed at the scale of demand at the moment, and worry about our capacity to meet it. Everyday we are increasingly stretched and are anxious about the months ahead.

What is even more alarming, however, is the extent to which poverty, food insecurity and deprivation are becoming normalised as inevitable in one of the richest countries in the word. This is not normal and should not be happening.

At OMA we will continue to do everything we can to make sure no one’s call for help goes unanswered. However, this is not a long term solution to a much larger systemic problem.

We need your help

Due to the scale of the cost of living crisis we are seeking out more volunteers to support us in our work

We especially need volunteer drivers and bikers and hall volunteers.

Without more support we will not be able to meet the demand. We really appreciate the support that is shown to us and genuinely can’t quite believe just how many people help week in week out but we are looking for more support if you can spare even an hour a week – it would make a huge difference.

Burford Rehoming Centre Pet Food Donation

After the super volunteer Sophie contacted Burford Rehoming Centre asking for pet food donations, on Monday 29th August Hannah from Burford visited the hall with an amazing donation of pet food! They have also committed to regular dog and cat food donations on a bi-weekly basis going forward. This will be a huge support to us, we receive many requests for pet food on a weekly basis from our regular and emergency parcel receivers. With very low stocks recently we have not been able to provide such support in the capacity required. We hope this will give a little extra relief to the households we deliver to.

Thanks again to Hannah and the whole team at Burford Rehoming Centre!

Sanitary pads required – please donate

Unfortunately we have drawn down our stock of sanitary supplies and are almost out of sanitary towels. We are urgently asking for donations. These are essential items for people’s health, hygiene and dignity. We can receive anywhere from 50 – 150 requests per week. 

You can order us supplies here.

Period poverty

 A recent survey by Plan International UK found more than a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have struggled to afford or access menstrual products during the pandemic – up one fifth on the previous year. This is equivalent to over one million girls. 

It was estimated that more than 137,700 girls in the UK missed school last year because they can’t afford sanitary products.  6% of parents said they had been so desperate to equip their daughters with menstrual products that they have resorted to stealing. More than a fifth of parents said they had gone without something themselves, so that they had enough money to meet their daughter’s needs. 

And, as is the case in many countries across the world, period poverty in the UK has worsened due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

A recent survey by Plan International UK found more than a third of girls aged 14-21 in the UK have struggled to afford or access menstrual products during the pandemic – up one fifth on the previous year. This is equivalent to over one million girls.  

Half of these girls said they did not have enough money to buy period products at all at some point over the past year, and three quarters (73%) of those had to use toilet paper as an alternative to period products like pads.

We’re asking you to help us to ensure that OMA can help to support as many people as possible to escape period poverty.

Learn more here.

Raid your cupboards for ambient goods for OMA

We have completely run out of these items:

SPAGHETTI HOOPS- https://tinyurl.com/yc7ze3ns

TEA BAGS – https://tinyurl.com/m3fp7hx2 

NAPPIES SIZE 7 & 8 –   https://tinyurl.com/3mpejd5z 

APTAMIL 3 & 4 – https://tinyurl.com/rry4en95

Feedback

We receive lovely feedback on a daily basis and there is always a member of the team to read and share it. Although it is not necessary, it is very humbling. We are all so glad to be part of this community and value your supportive and encouraging words so much!

I can’t believe it, I’m not used to many niceties or kindness these days, and I’m overwhelmed at such amazing stuff. Thank you so much, I’m really grateful, please please pass on my thanks to everybody in the team, and your delivery driver

Nice person, gentle conversation and a smile. Thank you to your delivery driver for delivering a thank you to you for doing what you do and thank you to the whole team for being amazing.

A big thank you for the parcel ,you do not realise how much of a life saver this is, kind regards,  God bless

In solidarity, we are all in this together. If you need help please reach out at 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org 💛

Calling Oxford University and Oxford Brookes University Students

As Freshers Fairs are round the corner, we’re thinking about how we can recruit more wonderful volunteers with new skills, experience and enthusiasm to bring to O.M.A. However, we really need your help if you are a current student of either institution. If you are, and may be interested in helping to set up an O.M.A. stall please contact us at coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org. This includes if you are able to set up a stall at your college fair as a Oxford University student or are able to post anything across Facebook groups.

Join our grant writing team

We are looking to get a group of volunteers together to support us in grant research, writing and applications. OMA relies heavily on securing funding from grants for our core operational costs, food and essential staff and volunteer training courses, so it is super important work which is a lot for the coordinators to manage alone. It will be very flexible and ad hoc support but hopefully with a structured work flow between us all. 

An external trainer has offered some grant writing training on Thursday 15th Sep (1.5 hours approx) and has welcomed a small group of volunteers to join. Would you be interested in attending the training and/or being involved in supporting in any way with grant writing and applications? 

Please get in touch to let us know.

Finance Q&A 6pm Tuesday 6th September

For anyone who would like to know more about what happens behind-the-scenes at OMA when it comes to all things finance! We will talk about budget, reserves, planning, and much more. Ask all your questions! Don’t worry, finance isn’t scary, and we can keep it as light on the numbers as is needed. Feel free to send Lia questions ahead of time at lia@oxfordmutualaid.org.

Oxford Mutual Aid is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: OMA Finance Q&A

Time: Sep 6, 2022 06:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85088587640?pwd=dWZzZFdNTDU5bGc3aVdFVmtScURpdz09

Meeting ID: 850 8858 7640

Passcode: 155407

Christmas Committee

It’s (not quite but…) nearly that time of year! We’re getting ahead of the game and hoping to beginning planning our annual Christmas activities. Last year we were busy with plenty of presents and we want to try to find a way to spread some Christmas joy this year with our new capacities and schedules. If you’re interested in being part of the organising – which can be everything from sourcing to packing to driving logistics please join us! We’ll be having a Zoom meeting in the coming weeks. You can email christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org if you’re interested.