Shopkeepers who made a profit from stockpiling spent £30,000 on helping their community during the coronavirus pandemic – including giving OAPs hats and gloves for free.
The owners of DayToday Express in Stenhousemuir, Falkirk, ploughed any spare cash they had – including from their children’s piggy banks – into helping their neighbours.
Asiyah Javed, 34, and husband Jawad, 35, were awarded a £10,000 government grant and put that into care packages they gave away for free.
They have helped single parents, homeless people, OAPs, and despite working non-stop since the lockdown in March, they have not contemplated taking a holiday.
Mum-of-three Asiyah said: “Since March we’ve spent around £30,000 – it started with £2,000 and went from there.
“We had £5,000 saved and when we got busier, because of being an essential shop, we put all the profit back into the community.
“We’ve earned nothing.
“Our holiday got cancelled and after that we didn’t think about taking a holiday.
“We spent every spare penny we’ve had, and we’ve hardly spent time with our kids.
“During the time it was starting we had people stockpiling.”
On one day last week alone, they distributed 200 food parcels worth £15 each, with the help of 50 volunteers.
The parcels contained healthy and nutritious food for people to enjoy, not just tinned goods.
Every day, they are providing homeless people with hot food, for an hour a day.
Asiyah believes the pandemic is a lesson for people to appreciate their families and their community more, and to take better care of one another.
Her children, Rayyan, aged six, Maryam, 12, and Salman, 14, have been happy to make sacrifices to help people around them who are struggling.
Asiyah said: “I think this situation is just a test for us.
“You realise now what family means to you, the kids realise how important their grandparents are.
“We have never done anything like this before, when covid happened and we saw everything shutting, we just changed our mindset.
“We used to think ‘this is going to cost us that much’, and when we could we would spend money on the kids.
“We’ve used the kids’ savings.
“During the lockdown, a lot of shops have made profit, and we should have been, but we invested it all into our community.
“We have never wanted anything back.
“At the start it was frightening because nobody knew what would happen.
“It was scary, but we’ve got through it.”
The couple spent £1,000 on ‘elderly care packages’, containing winter hats, gloves, antibacterial hand gel and a face mask.
Each one costs a fiver to make, and they are distributed for free by volunteers.
Asiyah added: “We’ve been doing lots of food packages, for single mums who can’t afford food.
“I heard about one mum and her kids living off cereal for a week and knew we had to do something.
“We got £10,000 from the government and we didn’t need it ourselves, so we spent it on helping people.
“We are not rich, we are just normal people.
“We are happy we’ve done something good, and the kids are happy.
“When we told them ‘this is more important’, they didn’t want a holiday.”