Waste2Taste works with our community partners to address food poverty and food waste in Oxford.
Set up by local food and community activists Marie and Sandra, Waste2Taste is an innovative social enterprise that increases access to good food and healthy eating for all.
Oxford has high levels of homelessness, child poverty and food inequality https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20131/population/497/poverty_and_deprivation .
Using income from our acclaimed ethical, sustainable catering operation, Waste2Taste works in partnership to deliver training, outreach and delicious home-cooked meals to those most in need.
In just three years, we have grown Waste2Taste from the seed of an idea into a successful, grass-roots social enterprise. Before the pandemic we were struggling to keep up with the demand for our event catering service, and we were looking to expand the team.
Our Waste2Taste Community Café at the wonderful Ark-T had become a safe space where everyone felt welcome and vulnerable community members dropped in regularly. Waste2Taste’s Health & Wellbeing workshops for homeless and vulnerably-housed adults were so popular we had a waiting list and a brilliant cohort of trainees on supported placements in the Café and elsewhere.
All of this, and still we fulfilled our commitment to donate 25% of our profits to a local homelessness charity The Gatehouse
The impact of COVID – 19
The impact of Covid-19 and then lockdown was dramatic. Within days all of our event catering bookings were cancelled and our beloved café closed. Workshops were put on hold. Volunteers could no longer access their placements. Waste2Taste lost 100% of its income.
We have continued to support our community.
We didn’t allow Waste2Taste to go under or for activity to be put on hold. Instead, we remodeled. Teaming up with local partners Ark-T Centre, Flo’s The place in the Park and Oxford Hub we formed the #OX4FreeFoodCrew providing people who are shielding, the elderly, those who are experiencing food poverty or otherwise vulnerable with nutritious and delicious cooked food with the help of Oxford Food Bank , Sofea Didcot and Bucksum Farm .
During Lockdown to present day Waste2Taste alone have provided over 2500 meals to those who need them the most.
"I widely appreciate all of your produce, fantastic good news for me! I look forward to it. All the tastes have been great. I am not vegetarian but I wonderfully appreciate your food, is a very good resource to be able to go to and I hope you get stronger and bigger and carry on for a very long time. Thank you very Much."
"I was scared of being alone during the pandemic, I have been supported by Waste2Taste as I have PTSD, this has meant I have been less stressed and had something to look forward to on a daily basis. Feelings wise I feel respected and that my dignity is raised and very moved that I don't have this sense of loneliness and negativity."
"XXXX has a lot of dependents; mother has dementia, son with autism, daughter and self with mental health disorders, so finds the meals a real help and respite from cooking, and describes them as 'healthy and delicious treat' which makes a real difference to her day."
Feedback from a keyworker
Our next steps
Lockdown may have been eased, but there is still a massive and growing need for food assistance. Waste2Taste is exploring new ways to increase our reach alongside rethinking our business approach in response to these changed times.
A newly evolving partnership with schools is helping us to reach the increasing number of families experiencing food poverty. In September we will reopen the Café and are expecting our catering work to pick up again.
But, we need to raise funds to support the enterprise through the next few months, to be able to continue to deliver our food equality programmes, training and volunteering whilst enabling us to redesign our model.
We believe we can change lives.
How Can you Help?
- Help us to supply 200 free meals a week.
- Secure staff, skills and resources we need to deliver our project
A donation of £4.00 will provide 1 healthy cooked meal
A donation of £48.00 will provide 2 healthy cooked meals for a family of 6 twice a week
A donation of £100 will help us to secure staff , packaging, PPE, delivery, and to organise the distribution with the OX4 Free Food Crew.
A donation of £350 will help us to deliver half day of Health & Wellbeing workshops tailored to targeted groups of 8 people.
By helping our project you are helping us to sustain our social enterprise overall core objectives, which in turn benefits and changes the lives of the communities with whom we work in Oxford.
This is a time for us to get together with kindness and respect and to help others to the best of our abilities, we are all in this together.
For now, please be safe.
Much love and friendship.
Sandra & Marie xx