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News

Weekly News 29.01.23

We’ve had another busy week at OMA. We are experiencing high levels of emergency parcel requests that are increasing week to week.

Thank you so much to everyone who continues to support and participate with OMA.

Solidarity with striking workers

We stand in solidarity with striking workers this week – continuing to fight for better pay and working conditions including teachers, rail workers, university staff, civil service workers, health care workers and more. We continue to support efforts to affirm job security and pay rises in line with inflation, as the continued cost of living crisis puts increased pressures on millions across the country.

You can read more about the campaigns for working rights happening across the country here

Trialing a 6-day week

Thank you so much for supporting us for another brilliant week at O.M.A. We are beginning with a new trial of a 6-day week. This means that we will now be closed on Saturdays. This means that we will not be open for regular parcel deliveries, receipt of donations, emergency parcel requests, or collections at the Hall, and that our staff and volunteer teams will not be available to respond to queries or concerns until the following day. All our parcels have been brilliantly reorganised to ensure that all regular deliveries can continue as normal – thank you to everyone who has helped to make this possible.

As always, if you or anyone you know is in need of support, please reach out to us on any day except Tuesday and Saturday and read through our signposting leaflet with more support options across the City here.

Less than one week to go to apply to work at OMA

This is the final week to apply for the position of Director of Operations and Operations Coordinator at O.M.A. This is an AMAZING opportunity to join a young, driven and enthusiastic team growing a wonderful community of care in Oxford. If you are interested then please consider applying by completing the form here

The deadline is Friday 3rd February (this Friday!!) and early applications are encouraged so if you’re able to apply earlier in the week, please do! If you have any questions you can reach us on jobs@oxfordmutualaid.org (OC role) or coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org (DO role). 

Rainbow families at Flo’s

Join Flo’s for a friendly drop in celebrating and welcoming all families in the LGBTQ+ community.

Weekly on Mondays from 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the Meeting Room at Flo’s – The Place in the Park Rymers Lane OX4 3JZ

No need to book, just drop in on the day! 

There will be toys, crafts and games for little ones, in a relaxed setting where you can meet other families and chat over a cup of tea.

No charge. Suggested donation of £2/£3 for room hire costs

All enquiries to victoria@flosoxford.org.uk

https://www.facebook.com/events/574884940907394/574884957574059/?active_tab=about

Drivers and bikers urgently needed

As we’re moving to a new 6 day programme this means that we are delivering more parcels than previously each day to accommodate both emergency and regular deliveries. If you have any time during the day then please let us know – anything from 20 minutes to three hours is brilliant. We are struggling with increased numbers of requests and are concerned we will not be able to deliver emergency parcels on certain days should we not increase our driver/biker capacity.

Routes are available flexibly in terms of location, time and regularity. You can either sign up on an ad-hoc basis or for a regular shift – whatever works for you! We have routes in locations from OX1 to OX5 for both bikes and cars. If you’re interested in helping out please email us on volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org.

Fresh veg and fruit needed

One of our main suppliers weren’t able to help us out last week, which means we are very short on fresh fruit and veg.

Without more supplies we will not have enough food for our parcels

If you have any capacity to donate, please bring or send donations of fruit and veg to 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR

Everything is welcome no matter how small, and all helps to ensure our parcels are nutritionally balanced and healthy!

It would also be great if you could support us with any of the following (click to order):

Pasta sauce 

Tinned tomatoes

Tinned meat

Tinned soup

Mutual Aid and Grassroots Community Action on Film

As part of Future Co-ops conference, there will be a public screening of ‘From Below’, which will be followed by a Q&A and discussion session with the producer and lead researcher on the project, Dr Oli Mould. 

The event is Friday 10th Feb 15.00-17.00 at the Leonardo Royal Hotel (Godstow Road, Oxford, OX2 8AL).

From Below is a documentary film showcasing mutual aid and grassroots community action that helped feed and comfort the vulnerable during the covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. The film focuses on specific towns and cities across the North and South of England and speaks to how community action can be supported in order to help people in future crises, both of the climate and of the economy. From Below is part of a broader research project, funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council.

Tickets cost £10 each. You can book here: https://futures.coop/from-below-screening/

Feedback

Although unnecessary, we are grateful for the wonderful feedback we receive each week. 

The meals transformed her. she was was under 6 stone and put on a lot of weight, and she was so excited. It was like a little treat every week

I really appreciate being able to speak to someone and have my questions answered, thank you

Thanks so much for supporting us in this difficult moments for us we really appreciate it. OMA is a fantastic team 

Categories
News

Weekly News 22.01.23

It has been a busy week, as always! This week we continued to support nearly 200 households with regular parcel deliveries. We also packed and delivered over 80 emergency parcels to households across the city, as well as continuing to both receive and share surplus with all our partner organisations and friends! We are now regularly receiving between 20 and 30 requests for emergency support every day that our phone lines are open.

If you find yourself struggling to meet your food needs and preferences, please do not hesitate to get in touch via call or text on 07310160595, any day except Tuesdays and Saturdays, 10am to 4pm. We will never ask you to prove your level of need, or to explain why you need support.

Here is our updated signposting information for the new year!

OMA is hiring!

In this exciting new phase in OMA’s history, OMA is hiring three new positions starting as soon as possible: two Directors of Operations and one Operations Coordinator.

These roles present a brilliant opportunity to work closely with a wonderful Coordination team, volunteers, Directors and Members and to be part of a young, growing and driven organisation rooted in the principles of Mutual Aid and solidarity. Over the past three years, our organisation has gone from strength to strength, and is now solidly established in Oxford’s communities. 

We would be very grateful if you could help us promote these exciting new opportunities. 

To find out more, you can read the role descriptions here and apply by completing the forms below before the 3rd February 2023:

Apply for Operations Coordinator

Apply for Director of Operations

Early Applications are encouraged and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the 3rd of February. 

Links below to share on social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Linkedin

Instagram

Social Action Fair

This week, a group of OMA members went to the Social Action Fair, a partnership event between the Oxford Hub and the Oxford SU which gathered together many Oxford-based organisations working for social and political justice. We spoke to students about OMA’s work and how to get involved, as well as linking up with other organisations working on related projects. If you are a regular volunteer and interested in representing OMA at similar events in the future, get in touch with one of the coordinators!

Check out our gorgeous new banner, at its first outing!

A table with some packaged food items, washing up liquid, and posters about volunteering at OMA

Upcoming webinars from the Independent Food Aid Network UK

IFAN is planning two joint webinars with Feeding Britain and the University of York as part of their joint Structural Inequalities webinar series. Their focus will be on structural inequalities, food insecurity and benefit sanctions and deductions and increasing in-work poverty. You can book your free place below:

2nd February, 11am: ‘State sanctioned hunger’: Sanctions, deductions, and rising food insecurity

23rd February, 11am: ‘A route out of poverty’: The effect of low wages and insecure work on food insecurity

News from the Campaign to Keep Campsfield Closed

The Campaign to Keep Campsfield Closed is a campaign against the reopening of Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre in Kidlington. We stand in solidarity with the campaign and are sharing their new change.org petition!

Feel free to sign and share! https://linktr.ee/keepcampsfieldclosed

Citizen’s Advice is looking for your feedback

Have you ever received support from OMA or a food bank? Are you a member of a larder or have been to a community Fridge? 

If so, Citizen’s Advice Oxford would like you to fill out a survey to discuss you experiences. They are trying to raise funds to provide a new advice service in the various food support services around Oxford, including Oxford Mutual Aid*

To take the survey, click here

It’s anonymous and none of your personal details will be stored.

Feedback

Every week, we share some feedback that we have received from people we support. As always, we would like to underscore that we do not expect gratitude – unfortunately, OMA is working to provide a form of food support that is necessary both to everyday survival and everyday enjoyment.

I came downstairs to a wonderful bounty! Thanks so much. Us 4 (me, two cats, and rascal kitten) will eat like Kings all weekend. Much appreciated.

Your stellar work is amazing and makes a real difference to my life

My food parcel was very appreciated. Such good service and great staff, so helpful. Thank you very much OMA.

Categories
News

Weekly News 15.01.23

A busy start to the year

We’re hitting the New Year at full steam ahead. As the cost of living crisis rages on, we have been very busy, Our emergency support line is busier than ever, with upwards of 20 emergency parcel requests every day. This represents a staggering increase to where we were just a few short months ago.

Sometimes we have filled up all of our emergency slots for the day by 12pm. If last minute call outs fail we inevitably have to turn people away or ask them to call back the next day.

We really need more drivers and bikers.

If you think you could help, please get in touch by signing up to volunteer here.

If can’t bike or drive but want to contribute in other ways you can also:

  • 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.
  • Join a team: OMA always welcomes participants in any of our amazing teams, for example phone volunteering, social media, finance, delivery coordination or logistics. To sign up or if you have and questions, please email volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org
  • Donate: If you have the means, you can share your resources with others but making a financial contribution or by donating items requested. For OMA, you can do this here: https://tinyurl.com/2x2vvzhb

You are not alone

We know it is a very difficult time for everyone and we encourage people to keep reaching out if it’s difficult to get through at first. We will do our best to get to you as quickly as possible. You’re not alone.

In the meantime, here is some information on the various sources of support around Oxford you can access around Oxford

Citizen’s Advice is looking for your feedback

Have you ever received support from OMA or a food bank? Are you a member of a larder or have been to a community Fridge?

If so citizen’s advice Oxford would like you to fill out this survey to discuss you experiences. They are trying to raise funds to provide a new advice service in the various food support services around Oxford, including Oxford Mutual Aid

To fill it out, click here

It’s anonymous and none of your personal details will be stored.

Plastic bags/bags for life needed

If you have far too many plastic bags lying around your house and don’t know what to do with them, let us help you! To save us from spending money on plastic bags, please consider donating yours to OMA. This is not only good for the planet but it is good for O.M.A’s budget.

If you a regular or emergency contact, please do return any bags you might have from us. You can give them to the driver or biker.

Choose OMA to be your local cause

Are you a Co-op Member? If so, there are additional ways you can support OMA via the Local Community Fund.

When you buy selected Co-op products and services, 2p for every £1 spent goes into your membership account. The same amount also goes towards like-minded organisations and local causes. You can select a local cause you would like to support – OMA is one of the nominated causes this year.

Here is our profile and you can choose to nominate us here.

Thanks to St Antony’s College

We wanted to say a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU to St. Antony’s College Oxford who has been preparing simply beautiful meals for Kitchen Collective and Regular / Emergency Parcel Contacts. This was especially wonderful over the festive period as many of our other partners took a well deserved break over Christmas

If you work in a kitchen or go to an Oxford College why not encourage them to get involved with Oxford Mutual Aid’s Kitchen Collective programme

‘… OMA have been so helpful and organised that we have all made easy work of it’ – Head Chef at St. Antony’s

O.M.A is hiring!

In this exciting new phase in O.M.A’s journey, we are hoping to add new members to our staff team!

Find out more here.

Feedback

“Oh my goodness, nothing prepared me for such a parcel. Thank you so much!!!! More than enough. I’m close to tears.” – from a new contact

“The last parcel was great, there were two chickens which saved my family for four days. After the first few months the situation we’re in is really hitting home, I can’t afford all of the things I need and noone has any money to lend or borrow at the moment. The parcels make a big difference, my friend also receives one and we sometimes share and swap things from them.” – From a regular contact

Categories
News

Update 02.01.23

Happy New Year!

We hope you have had a wonderful entry into 2023.

Winter is always particularly tough however our challenges this year were exacerbated by the Cost of Living Crisis which grows deeper by the day. 

Nonetheless, so many of you pulled together to show solidarity with your friends, neighbours and to one another. Thank you so much.

Regular schedule continues

A huge thank you to everyone who has continued to support us throughout the Winter break, and for the first time since we have been established, we were able to take breaks across New Year and Christmas weekends. This was so important for the welfare of our staff and volunteer teams and we thank everyone who made sure this was possible.

From this week, we continue with our regular schedule such that deliveries will be made every day and emergency parcels will be available every day except Tuesday & Saturday. 

As the costs of living continue to rise and more and more people are plunged into increasingly precarious circumstances, please do reach out to check in on those in your communities. We are there to help everyone – we do not means-test and are always there to offer support. If you know anyone who needs support – please do share our signposting leaflet which offers advice and information both on how to contact OMA as well as other local sources of support. We will be looking to update this in 2023 so if you know any other services which you would like to us to include, please contact us as coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org 

Solidarity with striking workers

We wanted to continue to send out utmost solidarity and strength to all those continuing to stand up for working rights and conditions. In the coming weeks the Nurses Strike continues, with striking workers picketing outside the John Radcliffe Hospital.  

The ongoing effects of austerity and cuts to welfare systems are apparent everywhere – and this devastating reality is affecting more and more people every day. We see hundreds of referrals from working people every week, and know we need to continue to support those fighting for better pay, better work security and working conditions. 

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-63561305

Christmas 2022

This year we were amazed by the kindness and organisation which facilitated a lovely delivery of hundreds of presents over the Christmas period. This involved wrapping, packing, calling, purchasing, donating and delivering and we saw fantastic organisations, schools and colleges get involved from all across Oxford. This would not be possible without each and every one of you so thank you to everyone who shared and spread the message of joy and support this season. We know it made such a difference to those receiving gifts and thank you all for this amazing continued effort. 

Thank you for the Xmas presents last week. Without them I wouldn’t have received anything. Thank you so much!

How can you help us in 2023?

As ever, we have been astounded by the ongoing support over the Winter break and know that as it has done every year our community will continue to grow in 2023. We always need more and more people to join us – whether that is as a driver, delivery coordinator, remote support or at the Hall.

Over the past few weeks we have noticed a shortage of people available to pack parcels and help with tasks at the Hall. We urgently need more support so if you know anyone who may be able to help even for a few hours a day – please ask them to get in touch with us at volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or email www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer

Raid your cupboards

We also face continued shortages in 2023, and really need as much support as we can get in the form of small donations, donation drives, fundraising and more. This week we really need:

  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tinned chickpeas
  • Tinned tuna

If you are able to donate please send items to 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR

Categories
News

News 28.11.22

Last week we saw another rise in requests for support, and at the same time some of the surplus deliveries we usually receive were unavailable. This meant we continued to be stretched thin. This month we also faced a doubled electricity bill and had to make some difficult decisions in the level of support we’re consistently able to provide.

A similar picture was seen across the country, many of which are hitting already marginalised communities the hardest. The Independent recently released some work showing that 1 in 5 Muslims are reaching out for food support with over 50% now living in poverty: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-muslims-food-banks-poverty-cost-of-living-b2223668.html?amp

Thank you to The Porch

Despite the utmost challenge, the community across Oxford continues to extend its arm of support and one organisation that has done that from the very start of OMA is The Porch. They donate surplus ambient and fresh food to us on a weekly basis as well as acting as a collection point for food parcels on Tuesday and Thursday which has been transformative for so many in receipt of support and hugely increased our capacity.

A huge thank you to them and if you are able please consider supporting their Winter Appeal to provide hot meals and continue their brilliant support over the Christmas period.

Increasing Energy Costs at OMA

As we have seen across the country, energy prices have risen which has also hit us at OMA. Last month saw our energy bill double which meant that we had to make other budgetary cuts to make it possible to continue providing support.

Can you help us make up the shortfall?

If you are able, we are in need of regular donations to make up the £260 increase in cost. If you or anyone you know are able to donate £5/ month we can avoid reducing our much needed toiletries, baby and hall budgets.

You can donate here. Please share this with family and friends and within your networks to help us make up the £260 monthly shortfall

Donate Items

As mentioned above we’re facing a challenging few months as we struggle to meet huge growing need across the city. This means that we are in need of donations particularly of the following items:

NAPPIES
Sizes 4,5,6 and 7 and particularly baby wipes

FORMULA MILK
All stages

TOILETRIES
Shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, deodorant

CLEANING PRODUCTS
Bleach, toilet roll, washing up liquid, cleaning spray and laundry powder

Some reduced price nappies are available here: https://groceries.aldi.co.uk/en-GB/baby-toddler/nappies-wipes

Whilst are now having to reduce the amount distributed per parcel in order to ensure resources are equally distributed, we hope that we will be able to increase again, depending on our monthly donations. Please continue to donate and share

Solidarity around Oxford

We continue our support of the striking university staff and ongoing campaign against the reopening of Campsfield.

70,000 higher education staff went on strike at 150 universities, including Oxford where supporters gathered on Thursday to show solidarity with staff fighting to save higher education from further attacks on pay, conditions and equality.

The Keep Campsfield Closed Coalition also continued to protest again the reopening of Campsfield Detention Centre and stood outside the drop in session in Kidlington this week. Continued solidarity to all those fighting to ensure that safe asylum and dignity are granted to all.

Keep up the Christmas Spirit

If you haven’t already please consider donating to our Christmas hampers!! We’re collecting all kinds of delicious and lovely gifts to give away — and in order to give us enough time to pack and prepare these we urge everyone to donate before 9th December if possible! If not — no worries as we’ll be packing up to Christmas Eve.

Feedback

We continue to receive amazing feedback which shows us how necessary the support we provide is. Whilst we wish the systemic injustices which necessitate our existence were removed, we know that whilst we continue to fight we will be here. Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you need.

You can go to: www.oxfordmutualaid.org/support or call us on 07310160595.

Thank you so much for the Food Parcel, we can’t tell you how much it means to all of us. Have a good weekend. Kind regards and God Bless you all for everything you do.

X said how grateful she was to OMA for giving her the security of knowing she could eat proper food every day and that it’s really helping her health as she has some chronic conditions.

Categories
News

News 14.11.22

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.

Read more here.

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.”

Read more here.

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. 

You can: 

  • 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 support@oxfordmutualaid.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 volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org 
  • 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 christmas@oxfordmtuualaid.org

Feedback

Sometimes when I get the parcel, I sit down and cry. I’m grateful for what you do.  Before I got my regular parcel I was just eating one piece of cheese on toast each day. My doctor told me I need to eat more but I said how can I? I can’t afford it. I use everything you send me and am so grateful for whatever you can send. It’s literally saved my life.

Raid your cupboards

Tea bags

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

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. 

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Tinned tomatoes

Baked beans

Categories
News

News 07.11.22

Organisations around the country have backed calls for benefits to rise with inflation in order to meet the needs of millions around the county who are desperately struggling amidst the cost of living crisis. The Independent Food Aid Network and others join these calls, noting the huge impact on those already extremely at-risk. You can read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/nov/03/charities-back-un-envoys-warning-on-further-uk-austerity

Schedule change this week

We have been presented with a fantastic opportunity to partner with Data Scientists through a grant with Science Together and as a result our team will be busy planning new systems and changes on Tuesday. Therefore, in a change to scheduling we will be closed for emergency parcels on Tuesday 8th Nov but open on Wednesday 9th Nov. Thank you so much for your ongoing support and understanding!

Van Drivers Wanted

We’re still on the hunt for some lovely part-time contracted van drivers to join our fantastic team.This will involve:

  • Delivering parcels (collection from Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road). Routes will be mapped, and 15 – 20 stops.
  • Collection of Food Supplies from various locations*

We are looking for people with availability on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and particularly over the Christmas period. There are always ad hoc jobs that pop up throughout the week too!

You need:

  • A clean licence
  • Experience driving / delivering in vans
  • References for the above

If you are interested in hearing more, please e-mail jobs@oxfordmutualaid.org with the subject title ‘Van driving at O.M.A.’. If you’re interested in volunteering but also have experience driving a van, please fill out the form here: www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteering 

Christmas Support

We’re continuing to raise donations for Christmas. If you’re part of a school, college, university, organisation or local group that may be able to host a donation station please get in touch with us through christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org. We can create a personalised poster for you super quickly and arrange for pick up of goods too!! We’d ideally need as many donations as possible by first week of December – so if you can start collecting over the coming month, that would be even better!

Raid your cupboards

This week we didn’t receive support from one of our suppliers which has left us very short of meat and veg. As a result, we’re building up stocks of tinned alternatives to ensure that people are able to get adequate protein and nutrient intake through parcels as best as possible.  We know we are not alone in this as the Big Issue reports that foodbanks around the cutting have begun to cut down on staple items: https://www.bigissue.com/news/social-justice/food-banks-forced-cut-staple-items-due-rising-costs/

You can bring donations to us at The Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR. 

This week we are also very much in need of shopping bags to pack our parcels in. While we usually pack in crates, this is not always possible for our lovely delivery bikers and bags are needed to ensure parcels are as accessible as possible to many we’re delivering to. We’re asking people to: 

  1. Return the bags they have received a parcel in at their next delivery and / or to 
  2. Donate any bags they might have

Volunteer With Us

With the huge number of emergency parcel requests we’re seeing each week, we are more in need of support packing parcels at the Hall than ever. We expect this need to worsen and are particularly cautious of the Christmas period where more and more families will be hit by increasing costs of food, fuel and more.

Our training sessions for Hall packing run on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings for just an hour – and you can come back any time – either on a regular or ad-hoc basis. Anything is helpful! If you’re keen to support, particularly if you may be interested in volunteering over Christmas – get in touch at volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or complete the form online at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer

Feedback

We’re as touched as ever to hear kind words for many receiving support from us, all of which show us just how much this support is needed. The thought and care that go into messages like these show just how important communities such as this one are, and we know we’ll able to get through the most difficult times together. 

Good evening, thank you do much for the food parcel, we are all having Cottage Pie, yummy, all is very very welcome, thank you once again, our Grandaughter says thanks for the Kit Kats, one of her favourites,  have a good weekend, and God bless you for what are doing for everyone.

Thank you so much extremely grateful for you and all the good people who work with you. God bless you all xxx

Categories
News

News 31.10.22

This week, our numbers continued to rise as expected as more and more people are reaching out for support across the city, including many families who have never sought support of this nature before. We delivered 70 emergency parcels reaching 132 adults, 21 children and 11 under 5s as well as supporting families through surplus deliveries to Syrian Sisters and other local organisations.

School holidays

Across all school holidays we notice a rise in the number of families struggling to provide for children, particularly those who would usually be in receipt of Free School Meals. There are calls across the country continuously to change the threshold for FSM provision, and increase provision across holidays to ensure that no child goes hungry. Many councils have axed vouchers which supported parents during this time.  You can read more about this here: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/oct/29/school-meals-holiday-vouchers-axed-teachers-marcus-rashford-councils

Christmas Donation Stations – Can you help?

We have an amazing collection of schools, businesses, streets, villages and more offering to help us gather donations for Christmas. All you need to do is either 

a) Put up a poster in your area, or school, etc. (can include sharing in Whatsapp group, or online!) and people can send donations directly to us

or

b) Put up a poster asking people to drop donations to a certain point and we can arrange collection from there – you can either use the poster below, make your own or email us on christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org and we can personalise it for you

For anyone in the Summertown area the fantastic team at Daunt Books will be collecting National Book Token Vouchers – you can pop down there, buy a book, check out the store and donate a voucher for our Christmas hampers! We’ll be highlighting a different business supporting us each week – so do keep an eye out for how and where you can donate this year.

Creative Cooking Classes for 11-15 year olds

Our fantastic partners at Waste2Taste, who are also part of the OX4 Free Food Crew, are beginning a new free 6 week course for 11-15 year olds to encourage the cooking of affordable, healthy meals whilst learning about vegetarian and vegan cooking. The course will take place on Wednesdays from 3.30-5.30pm starting on the 9th November at the wonderful Ark-T Centre in Cowley. To book a space, or for more info, contact jo@ark-t.org

Raid your cupboards

As Winter approaches and our stocks deplete, we’re ever more dependent on donations of tinned goods to ensure that our parcels contain and good and healthy variety of essential products. This week, we’re particularly in need of: 

Dog food – https://tinyurl.com/2p8jh8mj 

Nappies size 6 and 7- https://tinyurl.com/3mpejd5z 

Tinned fruit – https://tinyurl.com/2n3m4but

Tinned tomatoes – https://tinyurl.com/2p86xyex

Tinned vegetables – https://tinyurl.com/5y27arhs

Keep Campsfield Closed

We want to continually express our solidarity with those threatened with immigration detention, and stand in support of the Coalian to Keep Campsfield Closed. For those who may not be aware, the Home Office announced plans earlier this year to reopen the immigration removal centre six miles north of Oxford, which house around 400 men who are seeking asylum in the UK. The coalition host zoom meetings on the first Tuesday of the month – which is upcoming this week. To find our more head to their website: https://keepcampsfieldclosed.uk/ 

Co-op community fund

Do you have a membership card with Co-op? If so, you can help us fund the rental of a community kitchen along with subsidised food ingredients, biodegradable food containers and to hire a chef and coordinator – which will mean hundreds more reheatable meals per week going to the most at-risk households across the City. If you think you’re able to help raise money for OMA whilst shopping with Co-op – head to https://membership.coop.co.uk/causes/71665.

Feedback

Every week we’re so touched to received kind-hearted and generous feedback which reminds us of what an amazing community we have built. The need is ever-present and growing, but so is the support and we know that together we will get through this. 

Thank you to everyone who has donated everything from a few tins to a crateful – it all makes a difference and we couldn’t do it without you. 

Thank you so much for the parcel you sent to me yesterday… we really appreciate it, it’s been really kind of you especially with this period of us moving house , we were shocked when we saw it outside our door . You are amazing.

Categories
News

News 17.10.22

We delivered a huge number of Emergency Parcels this week, all of which went to households in acute crisis. This is no surprise, given the rising energy costs which have plunged thousands of households across the city into further precarity. In the past week alone we delivered 77 emergency parcels to 149 adults, 11 children and 17 babies. This represents a 54% rise in the number of support requests. 

This goes alongside the delivery of regular food parcels to over 200 households including toiletries, baby and cleaning products. We also supported Syrian Sisters and Oxford Asian’ Women’s Voice with additional food support and distributed reheatable meals to over 50 households

Crisis around the Country – Joint Letter sent to Downing Street

The Independent Food Aid Network (IFAN) reported that nearly 1 in 4 providers are having to reduce the size of their food parcels, with over 85% struggling to meet the needs of those they’re supporting. With winter on the horizon and supply chain issues only set to worsen, with the pressure increasing as the cost of living crisis affects more and more households we are very concerned. This should not be the norm. 

IFAN have released a joint letter with Feeding Britain to be sent to 10 Downing Street tomorrow. You can read this here: https://www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk/blog/joint-letter

The full report of IFAN’s survey can be found here: https://uploads.strikinglycdn.com/files/a24e6b92-956b-4759-a64f-426ab61df48d/IFAN%20October%202022%20Survey.pdf

How can you help?

Raid your cupboards

This week we already currently have no fresh fruit available to distribute, alongside our ongoing shortages of tinned goods. If you have items in your cupboards that you are no longer using, or able to use, please consider donating them to us!. This week, we need: 

Join in this Christmas

We’re starting our preparations early this Christmas, and are beginning to collect donations for our Christmas gift packages. As we do each year, we want to ensure that we are protecting the wellbeing of our community, through the provision of more than just the “essentials” – everyone deserves to feel loved, listened to and cared for and we hope that this can be a part of that. 

You can donate through our gift registry 

If you’re part of a school, college, local organisation or workplace who may be able to help set up a donation station throughout November then please let us know (christmas@oxfordmutualaid.org). We’re happy to send across resources and information to help.

Volunteer with OMA

With COVID levels on the rise, we are finding ourselves very short of volunteers – particularly at the Hall and across Driving and Biking teams. All the routes are beautifully mapped for you, along with a list of delivery locations. We can tailor these to particular areas and timings so hopefully they can slot in nicely with all other activities! You can sign up by emailing volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or fill out the form at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer

If you don’t have the capacity to volunteer – or if you do already – then please share this on your socials to spread the word.

Feedback

Thank you to everyone who shared such wonderful words this week. We are humbled to be of support to anyone across this network, and are amazing everyday by the community of care we have built at OMA. If you need support, please do not hesitate to reach out on 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org. We are all Oxford Mutual Aid.

Thank you so much OMA for the delivery it was really lovely and so helpful!

Thank you again for helping to provide us with this lifeline. My family and I would be in a far more desperate situation without this incredible help.

Things are getting so expensive trying to make ends meet is hard, not just me but for everyone. Thank you.

Categories
News

News 10.10.22

This week we continued to support the nearly 700 people who receive regular food and essential item support from us. We also delivered over 50 emergency parcels to support 150 people in urgent need. We also continued to supply local community groups with both food parcels and food surplus, as well as sharing out and receiving surplus from many of our partner organisations around the city and the surrounding area. If you know of a community group that sometimes has or requires food surplus, let us know!

Welcome new volunteers!

This week was also the Oxford University Fresher’s Fair! Following on from the success of the recent Brookes’ Fresher’s Fair, a team of our volunteers spent two whole days in a sweaty white tent talking to students about what Mutual Aid is, how we organise and how to get involved! We’re hoping to head into winter with an ever-growing and enthusiastic team of people! Thanks to everyone who was involved in setting up and running the stall, it was a logistical feat!

Elsewhere in Oxford

We want to express our support for the Coalition to Keep Campsfield Closed, a partnership of local organisations and residents who are campaigning against the reopening of Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre, near to Kidlington.

As a Mutual Aid group, we stand in solidarity with those who are in or threatened by indefinite immigration detention. Asylum seekers and undocumented people are often among those in our community who experience food insecurity, due to insufficient government support and, for some people, being barred or deterred from accessing public funds and services.

To learn more about the Coalition: https://keepcampsfieldclosed.uk/
To learn more about immigration detention in the UK: https://detentionaction.org.uk/about-detention/what-is-immigration-detention/

Van driver and volunteer drivers needed

As we get busier and busier, we need some additional support. 

Oxford Mutual Aid is seeking to compensate a new van driver for delivery services.

This will involve:

  • Delivering parcels (collection from Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road). Routes will be mapped, and 15 – 20 stops.
  • Collection of Food Supplies from various locations

We are looking for people with availability on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in particular but there are always ad hoc jobs that pop up throughout the week.

You need:

  • A clean licence
  • Experience driving / delivering in vans
  • References for the above

If you are interested in hearing more, please e-mail jobs@oxfordmutualaid.org with the subject title ‘Van driving at O.M.A.’. If you’re interested in volunteering but also have experience driving a van, please fill out the form here: www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteering

Other ways to support us

We need to ensure we’re able to continue to operate for as long as we are needed, and a huge part of this is having enough monthly donations to support us. If you aren’t able to volunteer, you can donate at www.oxfordmutualaid.org/donate and share this message with your friends, family and networks.

We always welcome donations of food or other essential items at the Hall (276 Cowley Road): we are particularly looking for tinned items to see us through the winter as well as self-care items to include in our parcels (candles, hand creams, lotions, body sprays).

Feedback

Here’s some feedback we received this week from people we support. We want to share this feedback with our community but also to emphasise that we would never expect thanks from people we support, as what we provide falls under the basic necessities that everyone has a right to. These are some messages we received this week:

Things are getting so expensive trying to make ends meet, it’s hard not just for me but for everyone, thank you.