A student who spotted vulnerable members of the BAME community needed support during lockdown has started her own food donation charity.
Nancy Tsvara was on the road to completing her MA in Social Work with the University of Northampton when lockdown meant the postponement of her final placement and studying at home in Leicester.
Not one to sit around if a social issue needs to be resolved, she created the charity when she noticed older members of her local BAME community were struggling to purchase traditional foods.
Such activity is only to be expected from Nancy, following news last year that she received a commendation from Northampton Hope Centre about going out of her way to help a homeless man get back on his feet.
Nancy explains: “I realised some members of our community, especially from BAME groups, did not have adequate support in place. For example, over 70’s shielding or isolating suddenly found most of their benefit money was going towards heating their homes as they were spending all their time indoors leaving very little for food. Most were not aware of food banks or had never used them. There was a feeling of helplessness.
“What came to my mind was a concept underpinned by an African proverb that says ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, a collective approach by the community to a task or crisis. I call it a Nhimbe Model as this is how it is known in Zimbabwe where I come from.
“The response has been amazing. I coordinated a team of 13 volunteers mainly from Leicester Zimbabwe Catholic Community and some from Blessed Sacrament Church Justice & Peace group. The group is part of The Nottingham Diocesan Justice and Peace Commission.
“After a community appeal on social media to kick-start the next phase, we partnered with ethnic traditional food manufacturers who generously donated these groceries to ensure this vital component was included in parcels that will last until the end of June. We are still looking for other food donations mainly rice, spaghetti and fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Feedback has been fantastic and I am looking at progressing this to become a registered charity post-Covid. This group of people face huge challenges both culturally and socially. Given the amount of time they have spent in isolation, this will no doubt present emotional and psychological challenges ahead.”