Drivers with the taxi company Ola Cabs, have been volunteering their time and vehicles to help deliver food as part of the #BrumTogether food distribution network. This network, which is made up of over 70 local groups and organisations, has been working seven days a week to distribute food to Birmingham residents. Since Wednesday 8th April, Ola drivers have carried out over 500 deliveries to support the local community.
Ola’s normal taxi services are still running. The drivers provide transport for key workers and people going to supermarkets, following guidance and safety precautions on social distancing measures. But while there is limited demand for transport, they have decided to utilise their drivers’ availability and skillset to help with the distribution of vital food supplies across Birmingham.
Alok Pandya, the Midlands Regional Manager, explained ‘we’ve always wanted to be involved in the community and help out where we can, so getting involved in the BrumTogether project has felt like the right balance between what we can offer, in terms of having vehicles and drivers available, and the needs of the community’. Ola used their social media channels and networks to inform drivers of the volunteering opportunity and have now established a large pool of drivers who volunteer on a regular basis.
Alok explained that the drivers have been eager to get involved and help out wherever they can. Many have told him they enjoy volunteering because they’re using their downtime to serve a greater purpose by helping those who are particularly vulnerable at this time.
Alok has carried out about 100 deliveries himself and has seen first-hand the positive impact the food parcels have on those receiving them. He explained that a small interaction can have a big positive impact on another person’s day. He has found that ‘a lot of the time you might be the only person that they interact with on a daily basis, so they are grateful to see a friendly face and have a brief conversation.’
Ola have praised the positive attitude of all local groups and voluntary services that have come together to support the community. Alok noted that ‘there really is a positive, can-do attitude and people really do want to get involved and stuck in wherever they can.’
Ola drivers have been a great asset to the food distribution network. The availability of drivers has helped to plan and smoothly coordinate the food deliveries across Birmingham. All drivers are DBS checked and insured, and they are very familiar with local roads and routes.
If you are an Ola driver and would like to get involved with food deliveries for the BrumTogether emergency food distribution network, check out the Ola West Midlands Facebook page for more information. If you would like to help with preparing, cooking, packing and delivering food supplies, please fill in this form.
Got a positive story to tell? We’d love to hear from you! We’re really proud of our communities and want to help tell your stories… If you have a positive or uplifting story you want to share, or know of someone who should to be publicly thanked for the work they’re doing, you can do so by posting directly to the BrumTogether Facebook page, through the form here, or by using the hashtag #brumtogether in your public social media posts.