Oxford’s food banks and restaurants offer free and subsidised meals for children this half-term

Image description: children’s school meal on a tray, including potatoes, beans, stewed vegetables, salad, Ryvita, and squash.

In response to the government’s failure to extend the free school meals plan, Oxfordshire restaurants and small businesses have offered their own schemes. The free school meals plan would have provided 1.4 million disadvantaged children with £15-pound-a-week food vouchers until Easter 2021 but was voted down by Conservative MPs last week.

Chain restaurant PHO, located in Westgate, is giving away 50 free meals a day across the October half term (Monday 26th – Friday 30th) starting tomorrow at midday. Staff at PHO say: ‘People can claim them, and a member of staff will be on hand to give them out discreetly and safely’. 250 meals will be given out next week.

Mission Burrito has also announced that they will be providing free lunches for children this half term for those families who receive term time funded lunches or any families currently in need. From 11am-1pm, no questions asked, just ask for the ‘Kids Half Term Offer’.

Ark-T Cafe (OX4 3LN) have extended their offer of free healthy meals to school children, ‘no questions or money asked’. They are open from 10am to 1:30pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. 

The Oxford Sandwich Company on Market Street will be offering six lunches daily; the first two messages they receive each day will receive a free child’s lunch. 

Oxford Mutual Aid and Donnington Doorstep are working with the chefs from St. Edwards School to prepare meals for collection from Monday. Call 07310 160595 or email [email protected] to sign up.

Volunteers for Oxford Mutual Aid are always needed. Please find them on Facebook or Twitter under the same name. 

Hungry Horse, also known as The White Horse, in Headington, will be offering five hot kids’ meals and a drink. PM them on Facebook to arrange a collection time. 

Manna Café in Botley are also able to help; their contact information is on their Facebook page, or you can pop into their café. 

Deli-licious in Marston will be providing free lunch bags for any child who receives free school meals; just ask at the counter. 

Willow Shake Shop in Abingdon are also providing school lunches to children in need in Abingdon during the half-term. DM them or call them on 01235 797621 so they can prepare a meal.

In Wantage, Oxfordshire Marcopolo Bakery will provide 310 meals for £1 each after various donations from locals.

In Chipping Norton, The Theatre Chipping Norton is providing free school lunches. They are available between 11:30am and 1pm. Email them at [email protected] so they know how many to expect.

Foodbanks in the Oxfordshire area include Oxford Food Bank in North Hinksey, Unit 12 on the Curtis Industrial Estate, and Abingdon Foodbanks with branches in North and South Abingdon.

Good Food Oxford has a map of places where you can get free or subsidised meals: https://foodmap.goodfoodoxford.org/.

You can also donate to the Oxford food bank online at https://oxfordfoodbank.org/donate/ or at your local supermarket.

Image credit: Casey Lehman, WikiMedia Commons