Supplying cooked meals to those in need during the Covid-19 crisis
The Kitchen Collective is our programme aimed at supplying cooked meals to those in need during the COVID-19 crisis. While we also deliver food parcels, there is no substitute for a prepared meal.
All our meals are prepared by volunteer chefs in kitchens across Oxford, with all ingredients sourced from food surplus – food that otherwise would be going to waste, but with some logistical magic and huge volunteer effort can be transformed into delicious, reheatable meals.
Since May we have delivered over 20,000 meals to households, and we now regularly deliver 525 meals to over 100 households every week. Many of these are delivered to AgeUK and Dementia UK clients, as well as families affected by the lack of effective Free School Meals provision during lockdown and those with minimal access to cooking facilities.
In order to make this happen, we have partnered with chefs, kitchens and larders across the City, including: The King’s Centre, Lady Margaret Hall, St. Edward’s School, The Dragon School, Cherwell Boathouse, The Garden Cafe at Restore and more.
The Dragon School for example provided over 2500 meals, including some Christmas Dinners that we distributed over the holidays. Not to mention our kitchen at the King’s Centre (a huge thanks to the amazing team there who allow us access to it each week) which has been expertly guided by our resident Head Chef Dylan Davies, who has now cooked over 200 meals per week for over 6 months and the wonderful Head Chef Markus, who you can here more from below:
‘Back in July, LMH had an enquiry from Oxford Mutual Aid, a local volunteer-based community action group who is supporting the local community during those difficult times, [asking if we] would we be in a position to produce some meals for The Kitchen Collective.Markus Gerber, Head Coordinator of the Kitchen Collective programmes
All members of staff at LMH who are involved in producing those meals are doing this entirely on a voluntary basis. Becoming part of The Kitchen Collective was a welcome distraction for our members of staff who at the time, were mostly on furlough leave! It was and still is great to see, how enthusiastic everyone is about this worthwhile initiative! Last week we passed the milestone of having produced 5000 meals for The Kitchen Collective!
Under the slogan of LOCAL PEOPLE HELPING THE LOCAL COMMUNITY it would be great, if other colleges and organisations would be able to help in a similar way!‘
What are people saying about Kitchen Collective?
‘Your gift of hot meals at a time of loneliness and desperation has cheered me up so much. Because it isn’t just the food: the love and kindness that comes with it are helping me so much. When you live entirely alone, you don’t feel strong enough to demand help or company and this is where people fall through the cracks.’Meal recipient
‘My health has improved tremendously since I started receiving these meals, thank you ever so much.’Meal recipient
‘The food is absolutely amazing… my clients are so grateful to everyone, especially the chefs and delivery drivers.’Lead Dementia adviser, Dementia Oxfordshire
How can I get meals?
Meals will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
How can I get involved?
We are currently at capacity and some of our hard-working volunteers that have not stopped since May would like a rest. In addition, many local larders and organisations have gotten in touch asking us to assist them in providing meals to the people that use their services. Therefore, we need more kitchens, chefs and assistants to join the Kitchen Collective programme.
Please email email@example.com. We are particularly looking for:
- Preferably food safety certified volunteer chefs who are willing to volunteer one or more evenings per week (particularly Monday and/or Thursday)
- If you want to volunteer as a chef please fill in this form
- Food safety certified kitchen spaces for our wonderful chefs
- Volunteer drivers for regular weekly delivery rounds
- Vans and coolboxes we could use for transporting meals
- Bulk donations of reheatable takeaway containers
Buy One, Give One
Inspired by other local businesses making an effort to help others during this difficult time, Lula’s Ethiopian and Eritrean Cuisine have launched a ‘Buy One, Give One’ non-profit initiative to support the work of Oxford Mutual Aid. Their customers can buy their favourite items off their weekly menu and make a donation towards the cost of a meal for someone else.
You can read more about their Buy One, Give One initiative here.
As of 30th June, The Wonky Food Co. have also started a Buy One Give One initiative! Buy any of their delicious chutneys (made from food surplus) from their online shop and select “yes” to “Would you like to give one half price?”.
We are so glad that more local food suppliers are helping support the community. If your business would like to get involved, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kitchen Collective Steps Up (May 31, 2020)
Holidays Without Hunger (June 24, 2020)
Buy One Give One (June 29, 2020)