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Here’s a cheer for Chinese New Year

25 January 2017

25 January 2017

The Oxfordshire Chinese Community and Advice Centre in Oxford hosts a buffet for a thousand people each year in celebration of Chinese New Year using some food they receive from FareShare Thames Valley. Yasmin Yau, who helps run the community group speaks with us about these special celebrations.

A Chinese New Year celebration banquet using surplus food

Tell us about Chinese New Year…

The Chinese New Year celebration is open to all our service users regardless of whether they are Chinese or not. We have all sorts of people who celebrate with us and our day centre is open to people who are socially isolated, people with disabilities and older people.

What’s on the menu for Chinese New Year?

Some of the menu will be made up of surplus food we get from FareShare, including chicken and pork which will be used to make curries with sauces like sweet and sour and black bean. Our community really like fruit and nuts for dessert as well as cakes and chocolates, which are also on the menu. We also request lots of clementines as they are a symbol of abundance and good fortune in the traditional Chinese culture.

What happens on the day?

On Sunday 29th January 2017, there will be a Chinese buffet lunch followed by Lion Dance, Charity Raffle Draw, Acrobatics Workshop, Mask Changing and Ribbon Dance, Contortionism, Unicycle and Escapology, Comedy Juggling, Chinese Folk Dance, Children’s Song and Dance, Western and Traditional Chinese Music Instrumental Performance and Chinese New Year Song. With such an exciting and fantastic programme we are expecting about 1,000 people to participate.

What do the Chinese New Year celebrations mean to your guests?

The Chinese New Year celebration is the most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. In Oxford it is often attended by the whole family, both young and old, to celebrate time honoured Chinese traditions and to reinforce a sense of cultural heritage and identity. The events continue to bring a multi-cultural flavour to Oxford City by giving the local people a chance to join in and increase community cohesion.

How has FareShare helped your community group?

FareShare is a great help to us and we are very grateful to them. Aside from using the food for our Chinese New Year buffet, we receive food weekly which enables us to provide three types of dishes during our day centres. This includes afternoon snacks and food for children and carers of the people who use our services as well.

What impact does the food have on your beneficiaries’ lives?

It has a huge impact on their lives as many of them are socially isolated, without family and friends, so the food brings people together and breaks down any language barriers. Most of our users are also quite poor or older and can’t look after themselves properly, so they really value the healthy food from FareShare.

What made you decide to use FareShare?

FareShare saves us a lot of money and means that our service users have a good meal each week as some don’t cook for themselves at all.  Even just chicken and pork can make a real difference as can quickly be made up into a nice hot Chinese soup for them. We will continue to use FareShare as we get a good selection and amount of food, and they have given us the courage to get more people to visit us as we know we can provide them with enough food.

And finally, what is your favourite part of Chinese New Year?

Our favourite part is certainly the Chinese food and Entertainment!

Entertainment at Chinese New Year celebration.