Three inspiring teenagers who orchestrated the donation of 10,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to food banks met with MP Sarah Olney on Friday.
Sisters Anushka (19) and Anika (17) Patel and their cousin Sasha Mehmet, 16, worked with Richmond-based company Newport Industries to distribute the bottles to charities across the country.
The girls, who estimate that they’ve helped over 30,000 people, met with Richmond Park’s MP to discuss their project.
Ms Olney said: “What the girls have done is really amazing and I was thrilled to hear about their project.
“For charities, having a bottle of hand sanitiser can be the difference between being able to open and offer services, or not. As such, a ready supply of hand sanitiser is crucial for a lot of people.
“The girls should be very proud of what they have achieved here.”
The scheme started over lockdown, as all three teens had work experience or internships cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But rather than rest on their laurels, they looked to see how they could help people badly affected by the pandemic.
Newport Industries, owned by Anushka and Anika’s father Rajesh, was happy to step in.
The chemical distribution company was well prepared for the pandemic, and had links to a Chinese manufacturer of hand sanitiser.
As such, they were able to import the quantity of bottles required to assist the girls in their charitable endeavour.
Distribution of the bottles began at the start of the month, with food banks and other food donation groups across the country benefiting.
Anushka Patel said: “It was important for us to help as many different groups of people as possible, which is why we contacted a variety of religious groups who were helping their local community.
“We have also tried to contact a number of independent food banks, who may have not received as much funding or as many donations throughout the pandemic.”
Ms Mehmet added: “We really wanted to be able to help those who had been hit the hardest by pandemic, especially those with large families.”
Newport Industries was founded in 1997, has been based in Richmond for the last six years and is one of the UK’s largest chemical distributors.