In March 2020, FSB member Raj Kumari-Byford was a Surrey mum enjoying life and spending ample time with her teenage son and pre-school daughter after breast cancer. Life was good, her family were all healthy, and they were comfortable.
When the potential impact of the coronavirus became clear, Raj decided she didn’t just want to make a donation; she wanted to do something. Whilst the journey is outlined below, it is all founded on the philosophy that “One Thought Changes All”, or 1TcA.
Raj has set up a food sharing network –TheFoodShareUK (www.thefoodshare.uk), which has given access to thousands of meals and is continuing to today.
She then established 1TcA, an organisation which produces face coverings. Furthermore the face coverings are made from GRS (Global Recycled Sustainable) plastic, thereby helping with the environmental impact.
Three weeks after her decision to do something, she was asked to sit on a national panel looking at food poverty in the UK. It all started with her buying produce from her local garden centre to cook and feed local people in need. The day after her garden centre visit, and having now involved her friends, Goodie Kalsi and Laura Wiggins, 200 local families had been fed 2,400 meals. Within 10 days they had given access to thousands of meals.
The Food Share UK became the ‘food bank to food banks’ and crisis centres across the UK. In summary, if food banks had money, The Food Share UK sourced the best prices for the quantities required. For those without the means, it was bought for them.
This food sharing continues with several local organisations, with the great support of Morrisons and Matthew Van DuyvenBode from the Trussell Trust Group.
A month in, a local councillor asked for help sourcing PPE and 1TcA began researching – bringing their skills and network to solving the PPE shortage. It joined forces with one of our business partners who were well established in sourcing genuine PPE for the national shortages.
Raj, Laura and Goodie also spotted the damage disposable masks were doing to the environment. This compelled them to find a sustainable and ethical solution, one which would also keep jobs and manufacturing in the UK.
In collaboration with a British designer and using HeiQ Viroblock technology, 1TcA launched its first mask and snood collection in July 2020. These have been developed and manufactured in the UK (from a factory paying the living wage). For the protection of the production-line workers, the first batch of 1TCA products was donated to them.
1TcA profits will be reinvested into a number of charities that have been working with The Food Share UK.