A family of a Bradford woman who died from the coronavirus have donated food and toys to a local food bank, carrying on a tradition that she started.
The family and friends of Rajveer Kaur Bhatti, affectionately known as Keeks to those around her, have donated £610 worth of food and toys to Bradford Central Foodbank in honour and memory of her.
Keeks’ sister Raju Bhatti, 37, from BD2 organised the charitable donation after her sister gave to the food bank last Christmas and the year before.
Miss Bhatti said: “My sister donated to the food bank two years running but this year she passed away, so me, her friends, and our family, thought we would raise some money and give in her honour. She would have donated this year to the food bank if she had the chance.
“We reached out to family and friends who donated the money and then we did the shopping for the food bank and got everything that they needed.”
Keeks worked full-time in an office and was 32 when she died ten weeks ago. Keeks didn’t have children but was an aunt to five nieces and two nephews. “She [Keeks] lived with us since my eldest was born so she has been like a mum to them. When people ask, ‘did she have any kids?’ I reply ‘Yeah, she has my two”, Miss Bhatti said.
Miss Bhatti added: “We miss her, we are taking every day as it comes. It still doesn’t feel real that she isn’t here.
“I have a video from when me and my sister went to the food bank last year. I went in and said we are doing it again this year, but to honour her memory instead. The manager of the food bank made a video for us to put on social media and a week and a half later we raised over £600.
“It was nice because I know she would have been looking down at us and watching us struggle getting everything in the car and having to get another car because we couldn’t fit it in. She would have loved it.”
“My sister has always had a big heart. She has always wanted to do more for people. We would be going to get food and she would see somebody at the traffic lights and give her food to them.
“She didn’t even think about it, we always carried water bottles in the car and hand them out to anybody who needed them. She encouraged me to do more charity.”
Miss Bhatti and her family bought tinned soup, vegetables, rice, pasta, sauce, and toys for Santa to give out in his grotto in the food bank.
“We take our children to the supermarket, and we get a choice of what food to buy. Some children only go to the food bank and get given a bag, they don’t get a choice, they get given a bag. It is heart breaking to see that people are struggling and people just don’t do enough to help.
“People could spend an extra fiver at the supermarket and donate the food to the basket by the checkouts and it would make a world of difference to somebody.”
Miss Bhatti’s family will be getting together as a family for Christmas. She says she is “dreading it” but will make an effort to spend time as a family.
“She was such a big part of our lives, the life and soul. She had such a bubbly personality, and she left a mark on everybody that she met.”
Josie Barlow, the manager of Bradford Central Foodbank, said: “All our staff and volunteers were so touched when Raju told us that she was collecting food for Foodbank in memory of her sister Keeks who sadly passed away due to Covid-19 this year.
“Friends and family had rallied around and raised £610 which they spent of food to donate to Foodbank. It was so moving to hear about Keeks and her heart of compassion to help people and how giving to Foodbank would honour her and make her proud of her family, we had tears in our eyes.”