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Call for delivery drivers & donations for brilliant Didcot charity distributing surplus foods to vulnerable in Oxfordshire

Published on: 23/03/2020

SOFEA is a Didcot-based charity distributing hundreds of tonnes of good quality surplus food to the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our communities each year.

Their 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 their increasing Community Larder network, they are providing a weekly grocery supply to over 2,000 vulnerable individuals and families, feeding up to 6,000 people, in Oxfordshire, as part of a membership which also provides additional support and discounts on things like utility bills.

The majority of their members are vulnerable individuals and families, many of whom are on low incomes but not eligible for support through other means, those who are socially isolated, those on zero-hours contracts, not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay and unable to access regular food supplies. 

In response, SOFEA has developed a plan to:

- Provide food boxes to their 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 community and charitable 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

SOFEA has the food to be able to supply many more members for many weeks, but they need more resources to be able to do so.

How can you help?

1. Do work

If you are able-bodied, healthy, symptom-free and able to do so, they need volunteers to work in their warehouse or drive food parcels to communities.

If you can commit half a day or more to do so, please let them know.

2. Find someone to do work

Please share this message with your networks, so that they can find as many people as they can to help.

3. Donate some cash to pay someone to do work and to fuel our vans

They need to cover £10,000 to £15,000 of direct operational costs each month for keeping their warehouse open longer, their vans on the road for more hours and their staff taking on more commitments.

As these costs are likely to increase in line with the rising demand, they will need more support to cover them.

Milton Park has provided a donation. If you are able to help SOFEA too, we know that any contribution would be gratefully received.

Having set up a JustGiving page for private donations, they have raised over £5,200 from the public in just seven days. If you can also help, please go to this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sofeacommunitylarder

Richard at SOFEA said: "These situations bring out the best in people and SOFEA really appreciates everyone's support."

If you can help in one or more of the ways above, please:
call 01235 510774 or email richard@sofea.uk.com.

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