Record numbers of people seeking support
The Trussell Trust has released some frightening statistics about the surging demand for food banks.
A total of 1.3 million food parcels were given out during April to September this year – more than ever before. Almost half a million of these went to children. It is a third more than were provided in the same period in 2021, and it’s an increase of more than 50 per cent compared to pre-pandemic levels. The charity has said food banks are at “breaking point both physically and mentally” and they are set to face their hardest winter yet. Even more worryingly, independent food banks like Oxford Mutual Aid are also seeing increased demand. According to the Independent Food Aid Network’s most recent data, 91 percent of food banks have seen a rise in demand since July this year.
At OMA, our experience reflects these rising figures. It has been an incredibly challenging time for so so many of us. The pace at which we have had to work has been relentless over the last three years and we are worried about what is to come. We are calling on the local and national government to recognise that food bank use should not normalised as a long term solution to poverty. The government must ensure that people can afford food and other essentials through adequate incomes.
Gaps in free school meal provision
Children not eligible for free school meals are coming to school with mouldy bread, empty wraps and in some cases nothing at all, according to teachers who told the Guardian they had never seen such desperation in the communities they serve.
According to data released this week, up to 110,000 more children should be considered eligible.
I’ve been in education now since 2006 and I’ve never known anything like it,” said Sarah Livesey, the headteacher at Oasis Academy Leesbrook in Oldham, Greater Manchester. “We are in the worst situation we have ever been. Even with Covid, I think this is our most challenging time.”
How you can help
Sometimes things like this can make us feel despair, make us feel powerless but we are not. There is power in a collective and we can make change.
- Reach out. If you are struggling, don’t keep it to yourself. Reach out for support. You are not alone and everyone deserves kindness, care and compassion. If you or anyone you know could do with some mutual aid, reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org
- Spread awareness. Let your friends, family and colleagues know about food injustice. Ask them to spread the word to others too. Food poverty is not an isolated or individualised problem – it is a structural one.
- Volunteer/participate with a local community group. Systemic locally based responses can and do make a qualitative difference to our lives. We firmly believe that those experiencing poverty and injustice are best placed to recognise its solutions. If you’re interested in participating with OMA, please email email@example.com
- Contribute/donate. If you have the means, you can share your resources with others but making a financial contribution or by donating items they have requested. For OMA, you can do this here: https://tinyurl.com/2x2vvzhb
Schedule changes – emergency parcel availability
Next week we will be carrying out some fantastic work with the OX4 Free Food Crew on Tuesday to support research initiatives which will help establish some more detailed plans to provide and alleviate food poverty across OX4. The following weeks our team has to take some time to assess our working practices and consider how to support the wellbeing and development of the coordination team, as well as period of leave, therefore for the following three weeks:
EMERGENCY PARCELS WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE ON TUESDAY (15/11, 22/11, 29/11)
EMERGENCY PARCELS WILL BE AVAILABLE ON WEDNESDAY (16/11, 23/11, 30/11)
Solidarity with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers
We stand in solidarity with Refugee Resource who this week make a powerful statement on the most recent rise of hostility towards refugees and asylum seekers.
Freezer of Love meals
Our fabulous partners at Waste2Taste have a wonderful freezer of love where you can collect pay as you feel meals.
Christmas preparations in full swing
We’re very very excited that our Christmas plans are in full swing. We have seen so many wonderful donations come through the doors, but we need as many gifts as possible before end of November in order to give us enough time to pack and distribute these. Please donate either by purchasing through our gift registry or dropping off gifts from the list below to The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR. If you’re interested in setting up a donation station please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Raid your cupboards
A cup of tea is about as essential as it gets for many households in the U.K however we are running low Please help us to replenish our supplies of this source of great comfort to many people.
Eggs are a brilliant source of protein and favoured by by many of OMA’s contacts yet we rarely have them in stock. We have lots of empty eggs boxes and nothing to fill them with.
Fresh fruit and veg
Our supplies have been very low lately so if you have an allotment and have veg to donate, or perhaps a veg box you don’t need all of, that would be brilliant. Fresh fruit and veg is so important for healthy nutritious parcels
Tins, tins, tins
We always love goodies for cupboard staples. We are consistently running out of tinned veg and fruit which is especially helpful when there are fresh produce shortages (which are becoming more and more frequent). They are also important for folks who are precariously housed or experiencing homelessness, and those who find veg prep difficult.