A cornershop has spent more than £5,000 on giving away toilet roll, antibacterial handwash and paracetamol to OAPs – in a Coronavirus ‘pack’.
Customers over the age of 65 and those with mobility issues facing self-isolation can pick up the free goods at Day-Today convenience store at Drylaw, Edinburgh.
The packs include one toilet roll, an anti-bacterial handwash, a packet of pocket tissues and one packet of paracetamol.
And anyone unable to pick up the Coronavirus kit can have it delivered to their house for free by calling the shop.
Owner Zahid Iqbal, 34, has already given away more than 1,000 of the kits and said he wants to ‘set a good example’ as shop shelves have been left bare by panic buying.
Each pack costs around £5 to make and Mr Iqbal said the initiative has already cost his business a whopping £5,000 – not including the cost of fuel for home deliveries.
He is also considering making food bags, with pasta and tinned goods, as panic buying leaves store shelves empty and supermarkets struggle to meet demand.
The idea came to Mr Iqbal while accompanying his parents to a local supermarket, where they encountered a shocking number of empty shelves.
Mr Iqbal said: “We’ve given away more than a thousand now, that’s just over the weekend.
“All the youngsters are picking stuff up and the older ones are being left out.
“There’s enough out there for everyone but everyone’s being selfish and thinking about themselves – it’s a time when we need to stick together.
“We have lots of customers from the local care homes, as well as disabled customers, who can’t get hand sanitisers, loo rolls or anything at all.
“We just want to set a good example in this world.”
The independent shop’s act of philanthropy follows a similar initiative at another Day-Today branded shop in Falkirk, which has also been handing out free essentials.
Mr Iqbal’s family-run store has served the local community for more than 15 years.
But he said Day-Today has been inundated with coronavirus pack requests and admitted the venture has come at a great financial cost.
He said: “I had to get staff in to do deliveries, and petrol’s not included.
“We’ve done quite a few deliveries to people who can’t get out and collecting.
“A lot of new people have been coming in showing appreciation as well and promising they’ll shop local in the future – lots of nice gestures.
“The appreciation we’ve been getting has been out of this world.
“You couldn’t get this kind of satisfaction if you spent thousands of pounds, it’s amazing.”
But Mr Iqbal, who employs five people, believes his loyal customers are worth every penny during these times of uncertainty.
He said that currently the shop was refusing to take donations, but claimed Day-Today may consider it in the future depending on how things turn out.
He said: “Money can be made in the future.
“You don’t want to make your money by putting your prices up in a situation like this – people will remember after all this is over.
“Right now, we need to do our part for the community.
“I think it’s very important.
“I’ve got elderly elderly grandparents and my parents are old.
“I just feel horrible thinking if that was my grandparents stuck in the same situation.
“I can feel how other people out there feel.
“We want to help out for as long as we can manage and everybody needs to be doing their bit.”
He added: “This week I was planning on doing food bags.
“If we run out of toilet rolls then the next thing we want to do is pasta.
“If there’s a lockdown people need to be able to look after themselves.
“The satisfaction you get helping people out is just amazing.”