Oxford After Covid
Published on February 13, 2022 by Felix J Levay
Dear friend of OMA,
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Most of all, thank you for being part of OMA. These are hard and uncertain times, but we are not powerless. When we work together, we can achieve incredible things.