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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.

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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.

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News

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

Feedback

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: https://tinyurl.com/yk23rhnp 

We also need some support sourcing baby products:

Aptamil stage 1, 2, 3, 4 https://tinyurl.com/3b9wj6r2 

Food Requests

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

Tinned tuna: https://bit.ly/32XAl5O 

Soup: https://tinyurl.com/yckkn9hj

Tinned meat: https://tinyurl.com/bddy87ut

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 coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org to arrange!

Categories
News

News 04.09.22

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

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

Cost of living crisis

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

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

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

We need your help

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

We especially need volunteer drivers and bikers and hall volunteers.

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

Burford Rehoming Centre Pet Food Donation

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

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

Sanitary pads required – please donate

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

You can order us supplies here.

Period poverty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn more here.

Raid your cupboards for ambient goods for OMA

We have completely run out of these items:

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

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

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

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

Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

Join our grant writing team

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

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

Please get in touch to let us know.

Finance Q&A 6pm Tuesday 6th September

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

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

Topic: OMA Finance Q&A

Time: Sep 6, 2022 06:00 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

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

Meeting ID: 850 8858 7640

Passcode: 155407

Christmas Committee

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

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News

Changes to service provision from September

We want to let you know about some changes to service provision from September.

Throughout the month of August we have not been providing emergency parcels on Wednesdays. We have coupled this with efforts to increase our signposting capacities and the information provided to all those contacting OMA in regards to other support available both on Wednesdays and throughout the week.

As you may be aware, we had initially proposed an additional reduction in emergency parcel provision starting in September, which was suggested to be Mondays. However, upon reflection and through an extended process of feedback, we have decided that this will change to Saturdays. Our regular service provision will not change on these days.

From the week beginning 5th September:

We will not be able to provide any emergency parcels on WEDNESDAYS or SATURDAYS.

On these days:

  • Our phone lines will be closed. Any requests submitted via email or online will be responded to as soon as possible on subsequent days.
  • Emergency parcel requests will not be received at the Hall.

Phone lines will be open only between 10am-4pm

  • This applies to all days other than Wednesday and Saturday (where there are no Emergency parcels available and phones are closed all day). Any requests submitted online or via email will likely be responded to on subsequent days if made after hours.
  • All calls or texts requests received after or before working hours will need to be made again on subsequent days. On both non-EP days (Wednesday and Saturday) however, we will have staff cover to ensure delivery of regular parcels and supervision of other associated operations.

As it stands, this will not affect the delivery of surplus or availability for meetings or other remote work. Our staff remain accessible via Whatsapp and/or on the email below.

We have also confirmed that these changes will NOT affect the provision of regular parcels – therefore if you are, or know anyone who is in reciept of regular support from OMA (i.e. a weekly parcel, that does not need to be requested) this will continue as normal.

We will continue to actively signpost everyone who calls the phone line to ensure that people are connected with additional support available in the local community. We will ensure that all those calling know that we are here, and that they are able to continue to access food support in crisis.

We have been so grateful to hear that these changes have provided some meaningful breathing space across Hall, Delivery and Driving teams, and we hope that these additional changes will further protect the welfare of both the coordination team and volunteer teams as we enter what will be a challenging Winter period.

We want to assure you that we will continue with our principles of mutual aid, of no-means testing and of prioritising the dignity and autonomy of all who come into contact with O.M.A.

We will be explaining the above changes to all Emergency Parcel contacts and sending out a new batch of leaflets to communicate these changes.

We are also in the process of contacting all third party bodies and organisations who refer to O.M.A. Both will be provided with the relevant signposting support and information to ensure the change is as smooth as possible. If you have any concerns or questions, please reach out to the coordination team (coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org)

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News

News 28.08.22

Rising Energy Costs

This week the energy regulator announced a new price cap which will mean that the average household bill will rise to £3549 per year. Households across the city and country, many of whom are already under immense strain already in the face of the rising cost of living and years of austerity will be pushed into increasingly precarious and unsafe circumstances. Many of the most at-risk households will be pushed beyond the point of no return. 

The devastating impact of this rise cannot be overstated. At O.M.A we are extremely worried. For months already we have seen numbers requesting support rise by up to 400%, particularly from households accessing support for the first time. There is no question that this will increase significantly, with most predicting that by January ⅔ of the country will be in fuel poverty

It is hard to explain what a harrowing impact this change will have on households everywhere and organisations like O.M.A working across the country to support their communities.You can read and share the voices of people, organisations and community groups here and here.

What you can do 

Raid your cupboards

As it stands, we are facing a difficult Winter. But, for the past three years, we have been astounded every day by the strength, generosity and courage of this community and how we have stood in solidarity with one another through each and every crisis we have faced. 

If you are able to, we are urgently in need of the following items to ensure stocks are sufficient to provide households with staples, particularly those which can be prepared with lower energy requirements. These are:

This week we have unfortunately run out of some essential ambient goods and toiletries, including: 

Tinned tomatoes ( please click to donate)

Tinned tuna

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Baked beans

We also are continuing to ensure that we provide more than just the staples, which includes the purchasing of toiletries, baby products and cleaning products. However, with costs rising we are finding it nearly impossible to meet the demand for support with our current budget. This week we need: 

Baby wipes

Nappies size 8

Washing up liquid

Toilet roll

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent through generous donations over the past week. We are truly overwhelmed by the community of care we have built here in Oxford. 

Donate monthly to OMA

If you have the means, please consider signing up for a regular donation to O.M.A. We know a lot lof of you have chipped in already but we’d really appreciate if you’re not already, you might consider donating 5 pounds a month.

You can donate here – please consider sharing this link with friends and family through your networks, and make sure to tag O.M.A! 

If you’re a part of a company you can also donate directly to us via bank transfer. Just this week we received an amazingly generous donation from the team at Data Salon Oxford – they make an incredible impact on what we are able to do. If you’re interested but unsure where to start, contact us at coordinators@oxfordmutualaid.org

Feedback

Through hard times and looking ahead to a challenging Winter it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. But we are reminded of the importance of our work, and the importance of this community through the messages we are lucky to receive day in, day out. 

Hi guys. Just wanted to let you know that we think it’s a beautiful box this week and will save us at least £20 off our shopping to put towards gas for winter… this was a really caring thoughtful delivery

My heart is full of praises and thank you for your kind support and help on time with your very much kind words for emotional support whenever I speak to you all. You all are your best .


We are in this together – and we truly are all O.M.A. If you need help please reach out at 07310160595 or support@oxfordmutualaid.org <3

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News

News 21.08.22

We’d like to say a huge thank you as always to everyone who has supported OMA this week. We’ve been so lucky to have so many people reach out and offer their time, across the remote team, delivery bikers and drivers, and the most wonderful Hall team too. If you’re keen to find out more about volunteering for OMA, please let us know.

Through our joint efforts we delivered over 250 regular parcels as well as 77 emergency parcels reaching 155 adults, 7 children and 18 babies in urgent need of support. We continued our work with Matilda House, Syrian Sisters and Oxford Asian Women’s Voice, distributing food to an additional 100+ people.

AMBIENT GOODS URGENTLY NEEDED

This week we have unfortunately run out of some essential ambient goods and toiletries, including: 

Tinned tomatoes ( please click to donate)

Tinned soup

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Baked beans

Coffee

Nappies size 7 and 8

These essentials make up key nutrients for hundreds of households in receipt of regular and emergency support from OMA, and are particularly helpful for those with limited cooking facilities or capacity. Our food budget is restricted so we are reliant on donations of these items. If you’re able to donate even a few tins please do! We’re at 276 Cowley Road, OX4 1UR between 9am-7pm every day and can receive in-person donations or supermarket deliveries. 

Apples Galore

This week one of our wonderful recipients sent through a delivery of over 200 apples from their garden which went into dozens of parcels that day and in the coming days. We’re so grateful to everyone who’s been helping particularly with fruit (which is very hard to come by!) so thank you to everyone who has delivered fruit and donations from their gardens.

Social media support

Following a discussion in our General Meeting, in the coming weeks we will be scheduling, organising and rethinking our social media and media strategies in line with new fundraising targets for OMA. If you love making a reel, enjoy looking at analytics, like taking and sharing pictures and videos or want to support us remotely (no more than an hour or so a week!) then please email nabila@oxfordmutualaid.org or text 07385853819.  We’d really like to hear from you if have experience with graphic design but this is absolutely not a requirement!

Botley, Carfax and Cutteslowe deliveries

We’re often struggling to find drivers or bikers to reach these areas, both on a one-off and regular basis. These are some of the areas with the least alternative support available and so we would love to try as hard as we can to ensure that support is able to reach those who need it most. If you have a car or bike and may be able to help with deliveries – please reach out to us on volunteering@oxfordmutualaid.org or www.oxfordmutualaid.org/volunteer.

Feedback

Here are some words from our lovely volunteer coordinator, Hall maestro and delivery coordinator extraordinaire, Christine: 

“What I love about OMA is that there are so many ways to get involved.  I particularly enjoy introducing potential volunteers to this wonderful organisation! The phone, the Hall and delivery are the main starting roles, but there are so many opportunities to help in this much needed and practical work."

This week, someone who received a parcel from OMA also shared this: 

“Hello, thank you very very much for the parcel it was perfect it came also with chocolates as a treat thanks so much, all your team are doing such an amazing work helping families. Thanks thanks thanks a lot!!”

“Your call tonight has restored my faith in humanity, and made my evening. I can’t remember the last time someone talked to me with such kindness and not like robot and that could make me laugh… I haven’t laughed in weeks… I feel relieved.”

Messages like this remind us of the importance of not providing only what are perceived as the “essentials” but ensuring that everyone in Oxford knows that they are not alone and that their humanity, dignity and autonomy are important to everyone at OMA. 

If you need support please reach out by contacting us on:

07310160595 between 10am and 5pm 

support@oxfordmutualaid.org

www.oxfordmutualaid.org/support

We are available every day except Wednesday to provide emergency parcels and signposting advice to other sources of support across the City.

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News

OMA is taking a break

OMA has been operating 7 days a week, 365 days a year since we opened our doors in March 2020. We have never once closed, not even for holidays, storms, or snow! This is an incredible community we have built together. In order to be sustainable, we have decided to pause our operations for one week. We will be pausing the week of Monday, March 7th – Sunday, March 13th but will be back as normal on Monday, March 14th.

We will reflect, reset and regroup. It was not an easy decision that we came to, but one that we collectively feel is necessary as we move forward to meet the challenges ahead.

We have already contacted everyone we support, and we also have provided information on alternatives for that week (leaflet pictured below). Everyone who is a part of OMA works incredibly hard and in order to continue at the incredibly high level we’re running at, we need a moment to breathe.

We’re looking forward to recuperating, resting and reflecting after a busy but wonderful two years.

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News

Oxford after Covid

It is now over two years since the first recorded case of Covid in the UK. As the government discusses ending Covid restrictions, we’re taking stock of how much Oxford has changed. 

While we hope Covid will become less of a concern, food poverty in Oxford is not getting better. It’s getting worse. 

Poverty and inequality were already serious issues before Covid. The situation is much, much worse now. Economic turmoil and soaring energy prices are making normal life impossible for many families. 

Recent cuts to Universal Credit have hit people hard. More cuts are coming and we are really concerned about the levels of in-work poverty we are now seeing.

But we have also achieved incredible things as a city. OMA is one of many groups that have worked together to keep people safe and healthy over the last two years. A community has been built which did not exist before.

We have known from early on that OMA was needed for the long-term. With your help, we have built an organization that will keep operating for as long as it is needed. 

This is a crucial moment. We cannot go back to “business as normal”, however tempting it might be. 

Tonight, parents across Oxford will go to bed not knowing if they will be able to feed their children next week. They are our friends, family and neighbours. 

We must be there for them. 

Key figures

  • In January, we delivered 402 emergency food parcels, for 1,943 people aged over 13, 521 children aged between 5-12, and 231 babies and toddlers. These are people in crisis who requested support from OMA and received it that same day. We are in the midst of a surge in requests due to the rising cost of living. Every day this week we have had over 20 emergency requests. We remain the only organisation that is open 7 days a week, operates on a delivery basis, and provides baby essentials.
  • We are providing weekly food and essential supplies parcels and Kitchen Collective meals to 311 households, going to 532 people aged 13 and over, 276 children aged between 5 and 12, and 85 babies. We check-in with every household via telephone each week. 
  • We continue to work with Syrian Sisters and Oxford Asian Women’s Voice to support 30 families, comprising of 240 people. We also provide 15 – 30 parcels each week for clients of St. Mungo’s – an organisation that supports people experiencing homelessness.
  • We are producing and delivering 350 – 400 Kitchen Collective meals a week, which go to households across the city including those suffering with dementia, the elderly, children with families on free school meals, and those struggling to cook nutritious meals at home. We thank our incredible partners in Peach Pubs, Taste Tibet, St. Edward’s School and The Dragon School for making this happen. 

Finances 

We continue to be a very cost-efficient organization. We are good at sourcing food and supplies for free or as cheap as possible. 

About a year ago, we made the decision to hire our first employees. This has been transformative. It’s made us more sustainable, and it has also meant there are people who can dedicate themselves not just to organizing day-to-day operations, but to negotiating and sourcing food and supplies.

This last part is all the more important now that prices are rising. 

We will share more in depth information later on this year, but we have included our spending for January to give you a snapshot.

Going Green

We are also proud to be using two electric vans for our deliveries. In addition, we are lucky to have partnered with the wonderful Pedal & Post and our excellent driver Phil has to date delivered over 380 parcels to 1000 people across the city in his brilliant e-trike! 

We move over 5 tonnes of food through our warehouse every week. It is delivered all across Oxford, and we’re glad we can do our bit to keep emissions down.

Final Thoughts 

We are all hoping that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Whatever happens, though, we need to tackle poverty in Oxford head on. People should not have to choose between keeping warm and feeding their children.

As always, please do encourage your friends and family to donate. £5 a month makes a real difference to us.

These are hard and uncertain times, but we are not powerless. When we work together, we can achieve incredible things. 

Categories
News

The Crisis Isn’t Over

OMA is still working hard to meet a high level of need, and we need your help. Read on for an update on our recent activities, and how you can support us.

We are currently receiving requests for and delivering over 80 Emergency Food Parcels a Week 

Many of these are direct referrals from Oxford City Council and St Mungo’s. These are people who really do need help, and we don’t want to turn them away.

That means we really need your helpIf you’re not, please consider making a regular donation to OMA.

£20 a month is enough to supply a family in need for a month.

If you’re already a monthly donor – thank you! – or if you can’t afford to become one, please help us spread the word.


The Good News and the Bad News

It looks like Covid is under control for the moment. The bad news is that its economic effects on the most vulnerable people are getting worse. 

Many relief efforts are being scaled back. That means that people who are still in need have fewer places to go. 


While we cannot take on any more families for regular support, we remain the only emergency food service operational 7 days a week.

Unfortunately, that means we are receiving a lot of new requests, often from local government or charities. 


We do not receive additional funds to help cover emergency requests. On top of our existing commitments the extra work and expense is putting us under a real strain. 


What Are We Doing?

As of today we are providing: 

  • 323 emergency food parcels a month, going to 619 adults, 278 children, 65 babies.
  • Regular food and supply parcels to 311 households, going to 469 adults, 290 children, and 54 babies.
  • 650 Kitchen Collective meals a week to over 200 households. 

How Did We Spend Donations?

Spending was £9,246.24 in February, and £10,118.0 in March. 

For reference, the term Hall is used to include all the fridges, label makers, and other items needed to safely store and distribute food.


Budgeting

As we said in our last update, our long-term strategy is to increase monthly pledged donations. The added strain of emergency parcels makes that more urgent, but we can get there with your help.

That said, we are faced with a difficult choice. We anticipated extra costs from staffing, but the influx of emergency parcels makes it hard to set budgets.

Basically, we need to spend more, make more parcels, and move more parcels across the city at short notice, on top of our existing operation. 

We do not want to downsize our operation, but we also need to be sustainable. We will need to see how much we can increase pledged donations over May and then assess what sort of budget we can commit to.

How Can You Help?

Our focus right now is simple – we need to get enough pledged donations to let us keep doing what we’re doing.

Thank you to all of you who are already monthly donors. If you’re not, please consider making a regular donation.

£20 a month is enough to supply a family in need for a month.
If you’re already a monthly donor, or if you can’t afford to become one right now, you can still help by spreading the word. 

It would really help us out if you could send this blog post to 3 people you know in Oxford who care about supporting the community.