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01 June, 2016

Charity lunch in Oxford

Shoppers walking past the East Oxford Community Centre at lunchtime on Saturday 21 May were surprised to be offered an onion bhaji or a piece of cake and invited to join Creators of Peace’s food surplus pay-as-you-can fundraising lunch.

One woman declined, then took a bite of one of El’s legendary bhajis, and ended up coming in, having lunch and asking to stay in touch. A taxi driver refused cake, but gave us £10 all the same.

Preparing charity lunch
The Creators of Peace (CoP) team started preparing two days before, collecting perishable food which would not last the weekend from the Oxford Food Bank. On the day, we arrived at 9am to chop vegetables, make soup and salads, set up the tables, and decorate the hall with bunting, flowers, banners and Romanian handcrafts. The CoP network in Oxford had made cakes, and several came to volunteer, under the expert direction of Miranda, an old hand at such events in this venue.

‘From the kitchen this event felt a little different from others,’ says Miranda. ‘It was less hectic, but we were definitely at the absolute minimum in the kitchen, and wouldn’t have managed so easily without a wonderful woman who turned up after reading about the event on Facebook.’ (She turned out to have been involved in food surplus events in Germany and had only decided that morning to come along.)

Some hundred people came through the space during the two-and-a-half-hour lunch, lured by the bhajis, the buzz of conversation and Ashley’s and Koteka’s piano playing. ‘It felt like a proper community event,’ says Miranda. ‘For me, creating or rebuilding community is part of what creating peace is about.’

‘There was something special about preparing food from surplus and then serving others with no expectation in return,’ says El. ‘One of my favorite moments was when someone came in who ate that couldn't donate. Those that could give gave and those that couldn't filled a hungry belly.’

All in all, the event was an exercise in trust. To our delight and amazement, it raised £350 towards helping Romanian and British women attend the Living Peace conference organised by Creators of Peace in Caux, Switzerland, this summer.

Creators of Peace Oxford

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