1,000 food parcels a week provide essential support for Oxford residents

Published: Monday, 15th June 2020

Over 1,000 food parcels a week are being sent out to people in Oxford who are struggling to put enough food on the table.

Food supplies are provided by Oxford City Council and local food bank SOFEA, with additional donations from local businesses and residents. The council is providing emergency food parcels, and is working with the community larders to provide longer term support with food supplies.

Donations of food from the public and local businesses are making an essential contribution. Some food businesses that have stayed open in lockdown have donated excess fresh fruit and vegetables, and individuals and residents groups have given dry and tinned goods that supplement the parcels.

These donations, together with nutritional advice from Oxford Brookes University, mean that the council is able to provide healthy food that meets people’s specific dietary requirements.

The number of people needing help with food has rocketed with the financial pressures of lockdown, as many who were getting by before are now struggling financially.

To fund emergency food parcels, the council has donated £15,000 to SOFEA and has also spent another £15,000 on buying food itself. In addition to the cost of food, the council has shouldered the logistical and financial challenge of organising distribution and delivery of food parcels through its locality response hubs – using redeployed council and ODS staff to do this.

“Delivering food parcels is not usually a council service but we adapted quickly to ensure that our most vulnerable residents didn’t go hungry as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Working with our main supplier SOFEA, we’ve now spent more than £30,000 on food – providing around 1,000 food parcels a week in less than 12 weeks. Thanks to donations of fresh fruit and vegetables from local businesses and individuals, as well as advice from Oxford Brookes University, we are able to give people healthy food that meets their specific dietary requirements.

“It’s great to see so much willingness to help each other, and I’d encourage businesses with surplus food and residents wanting to help to get in touch. Our food team will let you know what food we can accept, and they can collect from across the city.”

Councillor Marie Tidball, cabinet member for supporting local communities

To find out about how you or your business can make a donation, please email fooddonations@oxford.gov.uk