Our Impact

Since March 2020, we have been working non-stop to help our most vulnerable friends and neighbours. We make weekly deliveries to more than 2,000 people in 834 households across Oxford.

Some people come to us themselves, and others are referred by social services and charities. Our recipients include everyone from parents with newborn babies to the elderly and those living with dementia.

Our Numbers

959 people receive a regular weekly delivery of food and supplies (330 households)

962 people receive a weekly emergency food parcel (323 households)

650 Kitchen Collective pre-cooked meals are delivered weekly to 200 households

The Background 

There are two Oxfords. Everyone knows about the University, and the wealthy districts surrounding it. It’s no surprise that the city is one of the most expensive places to live in the UK.

But Oxford is also home to some of the most deprived wards in the country. Before Covid-19, we were already experiencing a homelessness crisis, and more and more working-class families were being forced to rely on foodbanks.

According to the City Council, there is a difference in life expectancy of 15 years between the most and least deprived areas. 

Covid has exacerbated all these problems. A lot of families have lost their income and won’t get it back any time soon. Many aid organisations have had to scale down or shut completely. 

Oxford is a complex city, and its needs are complex. An increasing number of people are falling through the gaps in our aid infrastructure, and OMA believes we need to start thinking holistically about both individuals and Oxford itself. 

Filling the Gaps 

As more people need help, it has become clear there are gaps in the aid infrastructure. If agencies focus too strictly on their own remit without taking a holistic view of a community, it is very easy for people to fall through the gaps.

We focus on people who, for whatever reason, can’t get help anywhere else. We try to be agile, changing what we do in order to meet the specific problems facing Oxford’s different communities.

We are currently the only organisation which provides emergency food support 7 days per week, and which also provides baby care essentials. 

What people say

‘Thank you so much. I have been asking for help for a long time and now you have heard my voice.’

Before you came along, it’s like I felt forgotten by the government. You have treated me with such care, dedication, and understanding, and you have made me feel heard and cared about. And the meals on a Thursday have been so delicious!’

‘My children are not going hungry thanks to you guys.’

‘You are life savers both mentally and physically.

No Means-testing 

We don’t believe in means-testing, and we will never pass people’s information on without consent. We think means-testing can often lead to inefficient uses of time, energy, and resources. More importantly, it can prevent people who need help from seeking it. 

What people say

‘I had just started to become frightened when you turned up and met all my immediate needs without any fuss or complication.’

‘[W]e’ve really been struggling with the benefit cap and losing our jobs but you are just so helpful and judgement free and the last parcel we got was fantastic.’

Nutritious Food

In the UK, poor diet is a bigger health risk factor than smoking. We work with other organisations to build systems to find nutritious food which would have otherwise gone to waste and deliver it to those who need it. Through our food parcels and reheatable Kitchen Collective meals, we help people to access delicious and nutritionally balanced food.

What people say

‘My health has improved tremendously since I started receiving these meals, thank you ever so much.’

We also think it’s important for people to have the food that they want to eat. We provide personalised parcels, catering to dietary requirements where possible, including halal, and including treats and desserts.

What people say 

‘[T]wo large parcels have arrived by a lovely gentleman half an hour ago. My daughter is helping me unpack everything and she’s squeaking with absolute delight (she loves custard and we haven’t bought any for ages).’

Strengthening the Community 

We have focused on creating a network which connects people with their neighbours. The social and community building aspect of what we do is important to many recipients, and many recipients go on to volunteer with us. 

What people say

‘Many of my lot are older people who are very lonely and can’t cook. So even a quick chat and a small meal goes such a long way. It’s been amazing to see the same people each week and to really get to know them. Everyone really appreciates the service so keep up the good work OMA.’

‘Thank you to OMA. I’m really happy and so pleased with your support. You have saved my family from this terrible situation and given us hope. Thank you.’

‘I am just coming to thank you for your help when I needed food because I was out of work. Fortunately I got a job and managed to organise my life again so I won’t need donations anymore so you can help other people. And as a thank you for all the help you gave me, I want to be able to give back a monthly fee to help you with this wonderful work.’

Working as a Collective 

OMA is proud to work alongside many fantastic charities, non-profits, and community groups. We have given and received a lot of help from our partner organisations, and we believe in working as a collective.

We frequently liaise with Oxford City Council and push for more support for those experiencing poverty in Oxford. We also find that volunteering with OMA has helped introduce Oxford residents to different communities within the city.