Weekly news 12.12.22

It’s Nearly Christmas!

We can’t quite believe it – we’re almost ready to start packing hampers. This has been months in the planning and has only been possible because of all of the amazing people who have worked so hard to spread the word about our efforts!

We have had so many incredible donations from so many! Whether it is individuals or groups, schools, offices, churches or colleges – you’ve all come together to share with your community!  None of this would be possible without YOU!

We still have items that we need more of to make sure everyone is at least given a token this Christmas

1. Warm clothing such as hats, scarves, socks and gloves

This is the one we really really need lots more of! Many of the families / people we support are struggling to heat their homes or are precariously housed / experiencing homelessness. It is essential they keep warm any way they can so this would be a very welcome gift this Christmas 

2. Large sharing family chocolates

Who doesn’t like a good treat especially at Christmas to share with their friends, families and loved ones. 

And speaking of hampers….

Volunteer December 16th-23rd and 26th-30th to help with Christmas hampers

Could you help with our Christmas hamper deliveries?

Over the last few weeks we have had a challenging time sourcing enough delivery drivers and bikers to deliver our parcels and we need even more over the busy Christmas period.

Not only is demand for emergency support on the rise but we will have other additional festive deliveries to do.

Is this something you think you could help with?

Collection is at the Richard Benson Hall and we can be flexible on timing 

If you’re new to OMA, pease email with the subject line ‘Hamper Deliveries’

If you’re already volunteering with us, please just add yourself to the Rota

We also need hall volunteers

As we will be packing a lot more parcels than usual at the Hall so we need a lot more hands on deck. If you have any time over Christmas to help us out. If you’re new to OMA you can sign up here: 

If you’re already volunteering with us, please just add yourself to the Rota 

We know many of you can’t help out regularly with work and other commitments but we’d love some help over the holidays if you can. Even an hour of your time can make a huge difference to someone else. We will have 60 parcels per day

OMA is only possible because of our wonderful volunteers. We are proudly a volunteer driven organisation based on solidarity and mutual support


Keeping warm at the hall

We hope you’re all wrapping up well and keeping  warm as temperatures plummet. We want to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our incredible volunteers especially those that spend long hours at the hall packing parcels in absolutely freezing temperatures.

They come week in and week out to ensure that people in crisis are shown solidarity, that they are treated with care and kindness and know that they are not alone.

As our bills are sky high it is difficult for us to heat our hall making conditions quite uncomfortable.

We will need to provide some heat to volunteers as the temperatures drop even further but we are worried about the cost. 

We’ve already had to make significant budget cuts elsewhere to manage our rising bills and we really don’t want to reduce what we are providing even further.

You can help us by donating here: 

Solidarity with striking workers

With the news that food bank use is soaring amongst nurses and other vital yet low paid sectors, we wanted to show our support to those workers who are desperately struggling to make ends meet. 

Many of the people who contact us are working and yet still they can’t put food on the table. This is the devastating reality of more and more people.

At OMA, like many food banks around the country, we are struggling to keep pace with the scale of rising demand and believe that food bank use is not a long term solution to food poverty

Read more here

Major food supply shortages

Sadly, our food supply levels have been at some of the lowest they have been due to the fact that many of our suppliers can supply less and less – there is simply less food in the system.

Coupled with the fact that people are having a harder time that ever, we can not keep pace with demand. This week alone we delivered 94 emergency food parcels to nearly 300 people and regular (weekly) food support to hundreds more.

We simply do not have enough food to provide to everyone who needs it.* If things continue this way, there will be more and more people with shrinking parcels or none at all. 

That is why we are asking you to help us and your community. We really are at critical levels of supply and soon we won’t be able to provide important essentials such as fresh fruit and veg and / or protein. 

We urgently need:

1. Fresh veg and fruit

2. Tinned tomatoes

3. Tinned meat

4.Sanitary pads


I’m very pleased with whatever you send to me, especially grateful for last Sundays parcel, which included a lovely flowering pot plant, and a cake! Sunday was my 90th Birthday!! Thank you so much.

A big thank you so much for the food parcel, cooked the chicken last night with the yams and carrots, it was lovely, again we thank you, all was good as usual.  Bless you and have a good week.


Weekly news 05.12.22

We hope you are all keeping well and warm this December. We know it can be an especially tough month for some of us so we hope that you are taking care and reaching out for support when you need it. 

We’ve had so many wonderful conversations with so many of you – at the hall packing parcels, over the phone, at the door and we are so glad and proud to be part of this wonderful community.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out for support if you need it. You are not alone.

Click here for support 

Festive activities

We are well and truly in the festive season here at OMA and we’re having such a jolly time! Thank you SO much to everyone who has donated so far! We have received lots of wonderful goodies that we will pack in hampers. However with more and more people coming forward for support every day we still require donations. Showing solidarity is about so much more than meeting basic needs. It’s about the spreading of collective joy, showing kindness and caring for  one another. Beyond being well-fed and warm, we all deserve to feel seen and supported.

If you’d like to support our Christmas efforts, there are a number of ways you can do so

  1. Donate gifts, goodies and Christmas cheer! We are seeking the following items
  • Christmas Chocolates / Luxury Food Items
  • Socks / Scarves / Hats
  • Board Games
  • Colouring Books / Pencils / Markers
  • Children’s Toys (0-5) 
  • Children’s Toys (5-12)
  • Toiletries (Gender neutral if possible) 

We are open 10 – 6 every day at the Richard Benson Hall 276 Cowley Road 

  1. Donate Funds open collective platform or our bank account! If you’d like our details please email 
  1. Volunteer! We’re always looking for more volunteers, especially around our busiest period. To sign up, please do so here: We have plenty of roles available: from packing and / or delivering food parcels and Christmas hampers, to making calls to our contacts to doing graphics and social media and lots lots more – There is a place for everyone at OMA
  1. Organise a Christmas Collection at your school, college, street, church or workplace. Lots of you have already set these up – thank you SO much! They are wonderful! and we are so grateful! There is still time to organise something! If you’re interested, please e-mail and we can provide you will any items you might need 
  1. Donate Items on the OMA Reverse Advent Calendar. Thanks  to our brilliant volunteer Lucy you created our very own reverse advent calendar of things we regularly need. For every day in December we’re asking you to consider donating this highly desired item!


Tinned Vegetables

Tinned fruit

Tinned tomatoes



Cow and Gate Stage 1 

Fresh fruit and veg needed

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

Without more supplies some parcels will not have any and we may need to turn people away.

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!

Brand the bus – vote for OMA

OMA is in with the chance of winning a prize worth £50,000 in advertising! You can read more about our entry (Number 73!) here:

Not only would this be a brilliant opportunity to raise awareness of the work we do to generate more support / donations but also to also to let more people know that support is available and that OMA is there to help if they are struggling

Please consider voting for us

East Oxford Farmers’ Market

Thank you so much to the wonderful East Oxford Farmers Market who hosted us this Saturday! It was great seeing so many of you there and talking to you at our stall

Big shout out to the wonderful Fran and Sophie who were there flying the flag for OMA. 

New Donation Station: Co-op, Littlemore Road

Thank you very much to the Co-op Littlemore Road store who have agreed to be a donation point for OMA. You can buy items in store to donate to OMA! 

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: 


We currently are not open for emergency parcels for two days a week, namely Wednesday and Saturday. 

From next week this will be changing to Tuesday and Saturday

This will mean that if requesting after 4pm on Monday this may not be responded to until Wednesday morning. 

We will be open on Wednesdays from 10am – 4pm for any emergency support requests.


This week delivered over 84 Emergency Food Parcels to nearly 300 people as well as regular food parcels to nearly 1000 people via our weekly food parcels and kitchen collective meals 

Here is some feedback we received this week.

Hi I received a food parcel today and from the bottom of my heart I really cannot thank you enough for what you guys do, when I opened my door my heart felt so full and the relief that filled my body was overwhelming. I really appreciate absolutely everything I was given.

All of you in your team have given me so much during this stressful time. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it


The Cost of Living Crisis, Christmas, and the Past Year

Dear friends of OMA,

This update is a little more extensive than our previous ones, so we can tell you about our collective efforts over the past year.

As the cost-of-living crisis grows, we are working hard to support everyone in our community. Food and energy prices are soaring, and a lot of us are struggling. Significantly, prices are rising faster for low income households the costs of essentials are skyrocketing, and low-income families typically spend a greater proportion on these items. 

The Trussell Trust recently released some startling figures stating that 1.3 million people received food parcels between April and September this year. Notably, this figure does not include data from Independent organisations such as Oxford Mutual Aid. 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. Many people are approaching us for the first time. Many have jobs yet still cannot afford to feed their families. And the majority need ongoing support. It has been an incredibly challenging time for so many of us. 

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 happen.

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  or by calling 07310160595. 
  • 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. You can share OMA’s content on social media via our twitter, instagram or facebook.
  • VOLUNTEER OR PARTICIPATE: with a local community group. Systemic locality-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 or click here.
  • CONTRIBUTE / DONATE: if you have the means, you can share your resources with others by making a financial contribution or by donating items we regularly request via weekly whatsapp updates and on our website.

At the same time, OMA is undergoing a transition. As most of you will know, OMA emerged during the first COVID lockdown as a response to the crisis. It has become clear that the OMA community is providing support that will be needed long-term. This means we are in the process of transitioning from operating in crisis-mode to becoming a sustainable, robust organisation.

What We’re Doing Now

In November 2022 we provided 

  • Regular (i.e weekly) food parcel, essential supplies and baby support to over 700 people. We phone all of these households every week to tailor their parcel to their needs. This amounted to 848 Parcels last month. 
  • OMA also provides emergency support in the form of food parcels, essential supplies and baby support. These are for people in crisis and urgent need. We provided 290 parcels to over 900 unique beneficiaries. Although many individuals self-refer to OMA, a significant number of requests are placed by statutory bodies and third party organisations such as GPs, social workers, schools, nurseries, City and County Councils, and charities such as Homeless Oxfordshire, Refugee Resource, and Asylum Welcome, to name just a few. 
  • Additional support and surplus redistribution to many local community groups and larders including Oxfordshire Asian Women’s Voice, Syrian Sisters, and African Families in the UK
  • Over 1300 Kitchen Collective meals to hundreds of households across Oxfordshire 
  • This amounts to over 2100 unique beneficiaries overall 

Over the past year, OMA has 

  • Distributed approximately 20,000 food, essential supplies and baby support parcels, and over 18,000 Kitchen Collective Meals 
  • Run various programmes of celebration and support during various religious and / or cultural events and festivals, including our Christmas and Ramadan Hampers 
  • Worked with over 500 volunteers to deliver our programmes of support 
  • Partnered with multiple local community groups, charities and charities to build local resilience against food poverty and injustice 

With your help, we are providing personally tailored regular and emergency support to a large number of people around Oxford. As always, this support includes both fresh and long-life food, cooked meals prepared through our Kitchen Collective programme, baby-care items, toiletries and cleaning products. We avoid a ‘one size fits all’ parcel policy. By checking in weekly with recipients via our Delivery Coordination team, we are able to tailor their parcel to their needs as well as their preferences. We work hard to not only accommodate dietary restrictions but also to ensure that different levels of cooking skills and / or facilities available are taken into account.  Adequate healthy food is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. Even short periods of deprivation can have serious long-term consequences. That’s why the support that OMA provides during this winter is more critical than ever.

We are also proud to partner and work in collaboration with many fantastic organisations across the city, for example the OX4 Food Crew and the Porch. We strive to build local resilience through these collaborative efforts, and to create links with local organisations and statutory agencies, acting as a pathway toward more targeted and well-rounded support.


While food and other essential supplies are the bedrock of operations, we also believe that the many at-risk individuals and families should not have to face additional hardship during the holidays because of the financial strain it places on them, or because they are marginalised or excluded members of the community.

Over Christmas, we want to ensure that those in receipt of support receive more than just the ‘essentials’ and that we are protecting both the emotional and mental wellbeing of our community through the provision of gifts and small tokens of kindness this Christmas. Everyone deserves to not only have basic provisions, but to feel loved, listened to and cared for by those around them.

Showing solidarity is not just about working hard together to ensure that everyone has access to the things they need to subsist, but also about spreading joy, making people feel equal and valued, and creating a sense of community. We know from feedback in previous years just how important this work is to people. 

We have an amazing collection of schools, businesses, streets, villages and more offering to help us gather donations for Christmas. If you would like to know more or contribute to this initiative, please contact


The past year’s income has come from monthly donations (34%), from one-off donations (30%), and from grants (36%). We are grateful that the monthly donations continue to provide us with a reliable and stable income as we plan for the future. Our aim is still to increase the amount of pledged donations we receive, but we understand that many people in the community are unable to commit to donating a regular amount right now.

Our past year’s expenses are distributed between several main categories, among them:

Staffing, rent & other fixed costs (which includes a monthly fee for food), transport costs, parcel supplies (such as food, household items, and baby items), insurance, maintenance and expenses for the hall, and projects (Christmas, Ramadan, Eid). 

There are some changes to our budget allocation that have happened recently. This is due in large part to the fact that our energy costs have almost doubled. Consequently, we have had to make significant cuts to other programmes of spending in order to meet this shortfall. This has already had quite a substantial impact on the items we can provide in our parcels – on baby products, toiletries (including toilet roll and sanitary items) and cleaning products in particular. While we continue to try to source these items elsewhere, without more regular donations, we will have to continue to operate a reduced service. 


As we close off this update, we wanted to provide some of the wonderful feedback we have received to highlight just how much your contributions make a difference to people’s lives: 

“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.”

OMA Parcel Recipient 

“Oxford Mutual Aid makes me feel like I am living instead of just existing.” 

OMA Parcel Recipient 

If you have any other questions or would like more information on the work of OMA, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by reaching out to for general enquiries or to for finance related queries. Thank you so much for reading this update! 


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:

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:

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

All stages

Shampoo, shower gel, conditioner, deodorant

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

Some reduced price nappies are available here:

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.


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: 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.


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  
  • 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 
  • 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: 

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:



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


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 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


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:

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 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: 

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 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:

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 or complete the form online at


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


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:

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


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 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

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 – 

Nappies size 6 and 7- 

Tinned fruit –

Tinned tomatoes –

Tinned vegetables –

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: 

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


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.


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:

The full report of IFAN’s survey can be found here:

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 ( 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 or fill out the form at

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.


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 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.


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:
To learn more about immigration detention in the UK:

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 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:

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 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).


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.


News 02.10.22

We have had a busy few weeks, with Freshers Fairs, Harvest Thanksgivings and the BBC make a Difference awards. 

We provided regular i.e. weekly support to nearly 1000 people in the form of food and other essential supplies parcels. We also delivered hundreds of kitchen collective meals We packed and delivered 88 Emergency Parcels to over 217 people. We also provided food support to many local community groups and charities who we are proud to partner and stand in solidarity with. They also provide considerable support to O.M.A and we are incredibly grateful! 

All in all, O.M.A supported between 1500 and 2000 people this week


We wanted to share some wonderful feedback we received this week. Thank you to everyone who shared these kind words – we are very moved and humbled by them.

‘Oxford Mutual Aid makes me feel like I am living instead of just existing’

‘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.’

‘I want to say how Grateful [my partner] and myself are for the help you have given us in these frightening times trying to afford anything. You are All blessed.x’ 

Harvest Thanksgiving

This week we spoke at Harvest Thanksgiving at the St Mary & St John Church on Cowley Road. O.M.A is based at the Richard Benson Hall which is one of their halls. We love our ‘home’ there and are very grateful for the continued support that is shown to O.M.A by this community. We also received some incredible donations pictured below

Make a Difference Awards

This week we attended BBC Radio Oxford’s Make a Difference Awards. Although we did not win, we were just happy to attend and to meet all the wonderful people who are doing incredible things to stand in solidarity with and support their communities. We want to thank those of you who nominated us and continue to support us in all the work that we do. There are so many people who work so hard – too many to name – who are doing brilliant things around Oxford. 

Raid your cupboards

Toiletries, Cleaning Products and Essential Items

Alongside food, OMA provides other essential items. We do not consider these items to be luxuries but instead basic necessities that a person needs to live a dignified life.

We provide toilet roll, sanitary products, nappies and contraceptives on a weekly basis, with baby formula available once every two weeks.

Once a month, OMA provides a toiletries and cleaning products bundle.

We used to be able to offer all of these items more frequently. However, due to rising costs in other areas (food, fuel, rent) as well as a rising demand – we have had to reduce the frequency with which we can provide these items.

This week, it is a toiletries and cleaning products week at OMA but demand far outstrips what is currently available.

We are low on the following items if you can donate any:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Washing up liquid
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Sponges
  • Toilet roll

We are especially in need of bleach: 

We also need some support sourcing baby products:

Aptamil stage 1, 2, 3, 4 

Food Requests

Alongside these essential items, we are also continuing to call out for some of our old favourites! 

Tinned tuna: 


Tinned meat:

You can drop off any day between 10am to 7pm (Weekdays) & 10am to 6pm (Weekends)  at the Richard Benson Hall, 276 Cowley Road!

Call out for plastic bags

Do you have any spare strong plastic bags that you’d like to donate?
We are accepting donations of bags at the Richard Benson Hall on Cowley Road or alternatively please email to arrange!