And what a term it has been! We kicked off with our ninth (!) Project Soup at the East Oxford Community Centre (be ready for our anniversary next autumn), which was yet another evening full of joy, community engagement, and four exciting types of soup. This time around, we served our Minestrone, which has become a bit of a classic by now, a creamy Mushroom Soup, a slightly spicy Bok Choy/Noodle creation, and – what turned out to be the favourite of the evening – a deliciously green and healthy Broccoli Pea Rocket Soup. We will share some of the recipes on this blog throughout the year, but if you really can’t wait and want to try them out – just shoot us a message 😊Still more important than the soup of course are our community projects and we were glad to welcome four brilliant groups to share their stories and plans with us: The Oxford Sexual Abuse and Rape Crisis Centre (OSARCC), who are a collective of women committed to supporting survivors of sexual abuse, rape, domestic abuse, and harassment; Turl Street Homeless Action (TSHA), a passionate and socially active group of students who do runs of sandwiches, snacks, and hot drinks to people experiencing homelessness in Oxford; ARCh Oxfordshire, who recruit, train, and support volunteers to build long-term reading relationships with primary school students, and, last but not least, Schools Plus Oxford, a student-led initiative that helps pupils achieve their academic potential by matching them with university student tutors. All of these groups inspired us with their activism and we are so pleased to hear that some already welcomed new volunteers from our dinner audience! That’s the soup spirit 😉 Voting for their favourite, our dinner guests chose to support OSARCC, who will use the money for important refurbishment of their counselling rooms, to provide a welcoming atmosphere and safe space. We are very looking forward to seeing the results and welcoming you back at one of our next events!
One final highlight of our evening is not to be forgotten: For the first time ever, we put together a social business raffle for our guests, with prices kindly donated from local shops and organisations. It was a full success and great collaboration, since it helped us raise some funds for our own work and at the same time proved a great opportunity to promote ethical and local businesses in Oxford! A big thank you to all who contributed (full list below) and took part!
Just a couple of days after our big event, the Project Soup committee had the honour of being invited to the University of Oxford’s Vice Chancellor’s garden party, organised exclusively for volunteers from the university. Not only did we enjoy delicious food in beautiful surroundings, we made valuable contacts with other volunteers and projects and got the chance to give the Vice Chancellor some feedback about our volunteering experience in Oxford. It is really great to see the university so interested in and supportive of what we do and to receive such recognition for our work.
Motivated by this great experience, we approached our final event of term and participated at the Ethical Eating Festival of the Oxford Hub in Turl Street Kitchen. This was definitely a much needed highlight of a busy 6th week of term, which we used to spread the word about tackling food waste and for reaching out to like-minded individuals who might want to be part of our project in the future. Not only did we share some of our recipes and information about the SOUP movement world-wide (stay tuned for another blog post just on this!), we also had a little “spin the wheel” activity, that allowed festival visitors to take home an individual care-package of fresh surplus fruit and vegetables. What sometimes looked like a random collection of food produced by the wheel often turned out to make for the most delicious meals, and we used this occasion to encourage everyone to get creative with surplus food and look beyond the conventional in cooking up what would otherwise have gone wasted. Thank you to Oxford Hub and TSK for inviting us to this amazing festival and hopefully see you all at similar events in the future!
For now, have a lovely summer y’all and stay tuned for some more food for thought on this little blogette!