The covid pandemic isn’t yet behind us – but the next pandemic is already here. The increased cost of fuel and food and rising inflation mean that many households are dreading the winter.
Once again we find that we may be in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat. Already we are hearing stories from our community projects of people turning down fresh food at food banks, unable to afford the fuel to cook it. Or families reporting that after rent and energy bills, they have just £40 a month for food. This is a crisis.
Unlike with the covid pandemic, we have time to prepare for the worst – and time to come together as communities to respond. Will you give today to support two essential initiatives to make a difference this autumn?
Beginning now, we will open up warm spaces in our communities, using all the buildings we can – our schools, churches, and community centres. Literal warm spaces for the winter – and spaces of warmth and friendship for all. Like this new after-school family space you see here, where everyone gets a chance twice a week for some fun and free supper. As the autumn begins, we know these spaces will be essential for all people young and old who can’t afford to heat their homes or prepare a hot meal.
Our warm spaces will also be places of community peer support, bringing together local knowledge and national expertise about what extra hardship and emergency help is available, as well as offering friendship and a listening ear.
We’re already providing emergency food help in many communities – and we’ll continue to do that, through our Foodbanks and urgent food referrals, Demand for this help is already increasing and we are constantly running low on food.
But this crisis isn’t going to be over quickly – and we need longer term solutions to the problem of accessing affordable food. So we’ll be stepping up our provision of social supermarkets – pooling buying power, and using surplus food to reduce waste as well as cost. Our Oasis Community Food Stores will help people pay less to feed themselves and their families well.
All of us are feeling the impact of price rises and soaring fuel costs. But this crisis disproportionately impacts those individuals, families, and communities already facing poverty. Once again, we need each other. To deliver warm spaces, relational support, and community food stores that can make a difference for the long term – we need to invest now. In the first weeks of the covid pandemic, you gave over £45,000 in an emergency response. Our communities need the same level of response now. Please could you make a gift to help today? Any amount, large or small, will go to our cost of living emergency fund – and will make a difference on the ground, where support is most needed.