SOFEA is an Oxfordshire-based charity distributing hundreds of tonnes of good quality surplus food to the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities each year.
Our amazing team of staff, volunteers and trainees come from a broad range of backgrounds, many having faced barriers to employment themselves, to do the work which enables us to provide food to other organisations who feed 10,000 people each week.
Through our Community Larder we currently provide a weekly grocery supply to 700 individuals and families, feeding up to 2,000 people, in Oxfordshire, as part of a membership which also provides additional support and discounts on things like utility bills. The majority of our members are families, many of whom are on low incomes but not eligible for support through other means. The membership helps those people to top up their weekly food with healthy and nutritious food. Typically, with very little disposable income, many families usually end up buying and eating processed, unhealthy food. We know that there are strong links between children eating poorly (especially at breakfast) and poor concentration and cognitive development at school as well as an increased risk of childhood obesity. Similarly, we have elderly members who simply cannot afford some food due to the limitations of the pension and the range of costs to be covered.
As the impact of Coronavirus becomes more widespread, more people will need our service. The people who will be hit hardest are the more vulnerable in our communities, those who are socially isolated, those on zero-hours contracts, not eligible for SSP, unable to access regular food supplies.
Therefore, SOFEA has developed a plan to:
- Provide food boxes to our Community Larder members in 12 locations across Oxfordshire at no charge.
- 39 tonnes of food each month, providing 97,500 meals.
- Encourage people who are not currently members to sign up and access these larders at no charge.
- Work with other organisations to open more larders in locations where there are large groups of vulnerable people.
- Do this with due regard to safe and hygienic practice, taking current advice into account.
This is a vital ‘emergency service’ for local communities because of the unique role it plays.
Why there’s a problem
We have the food to be able to supply many more members for many weeks, but we need more resources to be able to do so.
If you can help in one or more of the following ways, please:
call us on 01235 510774 or
- Do work
If you are able-bodied, healthy, symptom-free and able to do so, we need volunteers to work in our warehouse or drive food parcels to communities.
If you can commit half a day or more to do so, please let us know.
- Find someone to do work
Please share this message with your networks, so that we can find as many people as we can to help.
- Donate some cash to pay someone to do work and to fuel our vans
We need to cover £10,000 to £15,000 of direct operational costs each month for keeping our warehouse open longer, our vans on the road for more hours and our staff taking on more commitments. As these costs are likely to increase in line with the rising demand, we will need more support to cover them.
Having set up a JustGiving page for private donations, we have raised almost £2,000 from the public in just 3 days. If you too can help, please go to this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sofeacommunitylarder
These situations bring out the best in people and we really do appreciate your support.