Families on low incomes have been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis and foodbanks across the UK have been struggling to meet demand. Since 2013, we have collected gifts in kind for the Oxford Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF) after church every Sunday. With the suspension of in-person church services, this has ceased. At the same time CEF has stopped operating as a drop-in service, and now delivers food boxes to those in need. We have given £1,000 to CEF from the money set aside by the PCC for charitable giving this year. Our hope is that this sum could be matched by the congregation. If you would like to contribute, you can give directly to CEF at the link below. [Updated 25 April 2020]
Jane Benyon, founder of the Oxford Community Emergency Foodbank (CEF), took part in a zoom conversation organised by the Faith in Action Group on 5 August. Referrals during the first three months of the pandemic were nearly three times those in the same period of 2019, she said. In April CEF supported over 500 families with food parcels.
In March, when it became clear that a collection service was no longer safe, CEF switched to a delivery service. Within a period of two weeks, they found new volunteers to replace those who were shielding and to pack and deliver food parcels, and set up an electronic referral system. Demand is now easing off, but is expected to rise again in September and October, when people who have been furloughed may find they have lost their jobs.
Listen to Jane’s talk and response to questions at the link below.