… in the Blackbird Leys community centre, which will be open Mon & Fri 9-3, and Tue/Wed/Thur 9-4. Estimated start date is 1 Dec. Hurrah!
Very exciting. This will be the next-nearest community fridge to ours. Food for Charities helped with paperwork, information about food sources etc.
We have been weighing the food that goes into the fridge every week. Here is the result after 6 months, with an average of 105kg/week:
We got more food over the summer because there were fewer students around, and Tesco does the same order regardless of student numbers. The low points coincide with a key volunteer going on holidays.
This is the MINIMUM amount of food, as food that is delivered to rough sleepers on the way between Tesco and the fridge (probably 5-10kg/wk of fruit, pastries, salads etc.) does not get counted, nor does food brought to the fridge sporadically by individuals (e.g. eggs from the chicken farm that takes our surplus bread). Compost no longer gets counted as the reverend who takes the compost out does not weigh it… but it anyway never accounted for much and still doesn’t.
In recent weeks there has been quite a lot of antisocial activity at the church: eggs and rice were thrown around the church, needles and human shit were left in the Garden of Remembrance, the church toilet was left in a mess, mugs from the kitchen ended up in the compost bin, people were trying to open doors in the admin area of the church. People were worried about some of the people coming to the church (and the fridge). There was talk of closing the church entirely for several weeks to try to stop people from viewing the church as an alternative public toilet.
Instead, the church committee has kindly decided to keep the church open and the fridge going, and instead to lock the toilet and kitchen (and, in doing so, the admin area). Also the church hours will be restricted from 9-5 to 10-4. This will allow the administrator to come in at 9:30 to an empty church, ditto the organist at 5pm.
Food for Charities has just handed out 58 food parcels to guests of the Gatehouse. The Gatehouse is a soup kitchen that normally serves 60-70 guests per day, but it will be shut for the next fortnight, hence the need for the food parcels. Each parcel contained three tins of baked beans, one tin of spaghetti and one of soup, 10 tea bags, two sweets, a fork or spoon, and information about other places in Oxford that people can get food.
A few people said that the bags were too heavy to carry, and a few didn’t want them because they had no way of heating up the food (and like it hot). But in most cases the bags were very gratefully received.
Today I met someone at the community fridge who said that the fridge is keeping him alive. That is humbling, also what an indictment…