MAGAZINE: Community Cupboard

The Collect for Community Cupboard

Generous God, in whose hands five loaves and two fish
fed everyone in the crowd who wanted to eat,
pour out your blessing upon the gifts and groceries
that we have been given to give away,
so that each one of our friends may leave this week
with more than just good food.
In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

In late January 2014, St Mary’s Iffley began a wonderful new partnership with our old friends at Rose Hill Methodists and our new friends at the Oxford Food Bank. The Oxford Food Bank collects good quality fresh food from local supermarkets and wholesalers, and redistributes it to projects around the city. Each Wednesday, the ‘Community Cupboard’ team will have some of this fruit, veg and bread to share with families who would be really blessed with a helping hand. Different agencies are able to give invitations to Community Cupboard. To all the individuals and families that come, we emphasise that by having Community Cupboard, they are helping the environment by stopping fresh food going to waste.

Community Cupboard on Wednesdays afternoons at the Methodist Church on Rose Hill is by invitation only. People are given a warm welcome, a cup of tea and some cake – even beans on toast if they are especially peckish! There’s no hurry at all, and some people just drop-in for a chat and a cuppa. Most take a couple of carrier bags home to cook something healthy and hearty. The friends who come are always given the dignity of choosing what they know they can use.

iffley postcard photograph

There are several ways you can support Community Cupboard:

  • Volunteer for one of the Wednesday afternoon teams
  • Sign up as a cook, able to turn the excess goodies into meals for storage
  • Offer to bake a cake for Wednesday guests to enjoy

Community Cupboard does have some running costs. There is an addition to the church’s insurance policy to cover our activities, and set-up bills included printing 5000 postcard-style invitations for referring agencies to use. We also have got a good store of hospitality goodies, tea, coffee, juice, biscuits and the like. We are bringing the pamper bag scheme under the banner of Community Cupboard, and alongside the lovely soaps and shampoos donated, we are stocking up on less fancy toiletries such as feminine hygiene products. We also have bought a significant amount of food storage boxes for meals that can be cooked up from the stock left over each Wednesday and stored in the enormous fridge freezer we have acquired.