DUNTON, Essex, 16 Dec 2021 – Ford has teamed up with the Oxford-based organisation, Oxford Mutual Aid, to support their work in fighting food poverty across the city. Between 8-10% of the city’s households currently experience food poverty, and Oxford Mutual Aid is experiencing higher demand than ever for emergency supply parcels. The charity was founded in 2020 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and has since then delivered more than 20,000 meals.
A refrigerated Ford PHEV Transit, nicknamed Vanelope, which was originally being used for demonstration purposes was given to Oxford Mutual Aid by Ford as a long-term loan to help them to reach the growing numbers of people reliant on the charity for basic essential items. Muireann Meehan Speed, Managing Director of Oxford Mutual Aid, revealed that without the van loan, the organisation would never be able to meet the recent spike in demand for emergency parcel requests.
“Without the loan of the van from Ford, we would have been unable to support the huge numbers of those in urgent need. With both winter, Christmas, and imminent cuts to universal credit, we know that these numbers are going to rise sharply. Without Vanelope, we simply could not meet the demand that we are currently experiencing, nor the surges that are yet to come.”
A team of people across Ford worked hard to ensure that the van was earmarked for a good cause, and a refrigerated vehicle was ideal for working with a food-based charity. The van has allowed Oxford Mutual Aid to increase their donations to at least 5 tonnes of food a week to those in need, of which there are thousands across the city. Despite its reputation as a wealthy city, 8-10% of households in Oxford experience food poverty and 15 areas of the city are considered among the most deprived in the UK. 44% of children in the Rose Hill area live in food poverty, and Oxford Mutual Aid, with the help of support from Ford, are trying their best to support them.
In addition to the van loan, members of the Ford team have volunteered to pack parcels at the food bank and drive the van for deliveries. To help support the charity at Christmas, one of the most challenging times for those experiencing food poverty, Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of the company, working with its international grant-making partner, GlobalGiving, has provided a donation of $20,000. This money will support the delivery of more than 2,000 Christmas meals and 400 festive hampers, allowing the most vulnerable to celebrate the Christmas they deserve.
Debbie Chennells, Ford Fund Manager Ford of Europe, commented: “At Ford Fund, we seek to provide access to essential services and support underserved and underrepresented communities. It is terrible that in 2021, we still have so many people experiencing food poverty in the UK, but the work that Oxford Mutual Aid do is invaluable, and we are proud to be able to help them make Christmas an easier time for those in need.”