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What they do

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. This vital work is being massively scaled up during the COVID-19 crisis.

SOFEA's COVID-19 response

SOFEA's 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 them to provide food to other organisations who, themselves, feed thousands of people each week.


Up until the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, SOFEA had been providing a weekly grocery supply through its Oxfordshire Community Larder to 700 individuals and families, feeding up to 2,000 people, as part of a low-fee membership which also provides additional support and discounts on things like utility bills.

In response to the current crisis, SOFEA took the decision to drop any membership fees and has increased the number of Larders from 7 to 23 in Oxfordshire, also increasing the total number of members to almost 3,000. Having planned to open its Larder network across the South Midlands over the next 6 months, the Covid-19 crisis has made the need for Community Larders in Milton Keynes immediately critical. As a result, these plans are being implemented throughout April, starting with the first South Midlands Larder at the MK Dons’ stadium and a further 15 rolling out in quick succession.

The loss of the £83,000 monthly membership income means that all of SOFEA's core staff and administrative costs are currently not being covered. These costs will rapidly deplete their cash reserves, which is why Ethex is asking people to make a donation to support the vitally important work that SOFEA is doing to support vulnerable people during the current crisis.

SOFEA's story

SOFEA is guided by the principles that access to quality food and education are basic human rights. The mission of the charitable organization is to see that these rights are met for vulnerable individuals and communities.

Its educational programmes are aimed at uplifting local people disadvantaged in the labour market. They teach the employability skills of self-management, team work and communication, on top of an accredited programme of essentials such as Maths and English, which are available at GCSE level.

SOFEA's food-related services are delivered in partnership with FareShare, where hundreds of tonnes of surplus food are rescued and re-distributed to charities throughout the Thames Valley and South Midlands regions, supporting families in need while reducing food waste.

Transforming lives

SOFEA upskills and uplifts young people across three key areas:

  • Study: traditional academic subjects and beyond
  • Work: skills and experiences to prepare them for the work force
  • Wellbeing: general wellness and personal growth including a focus on behaviours to boost self-esteem and emotional intelligence.


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