Man spends nearly £2,000 buying shopping for NHS and elderly

A father-of-five has spent hundreds of pounds of his own money buying food parcels for the elderly and vulnerable after seeing a woman in tears because a shop had sold out of painkillers.

Dean Vine, 33, found the elderly woman some aspirin at a local pharmacy then put out a message on Facebook urging people in need to contact him.

He and wife Natasha have since spent £1,700 of their own money on more than 50 bags of shopping for dozens of people.

Dean Vine
Some of the groceries Mr Vine has purchased to produce food parcels for the elderly and vulnerable (Handout/PA)

They put together food packages of tins of beans, tomatoes and mixed vegetables, along with eggs, bread, long-life milk, fruit juice, snacks and toiletries.

Mr Vine’s employer Thames Water is now matching the amount spent with supermarket vouchers so he can continue to support his community in Northfleet, Kent.

Recalling the moment he helped the elderly woman, Mr Vine said: “I had a few other shops to go to and managed to get some aspirin for her at a pharmacy.

“She was so grateful it was like an epiphany moment.

Dean Vine
The father-of-five has spent hundreds of pounds of his own money on the endeavour (Handout/PA)

“She said there were so many other people in her complex, with no family, in the same position as her, struggling to get what they needed.

“I’d love to get more and more people on the list, so we’ve set up a Go Fund Me page so we can continue what we’ve started.

“I feel like we’re doing our bit to help, and if we can inspire others to do the same in their own towns and villages, then even better.”

Groceries
Mr Vine’s employers have matched his spend (Handout/PA)

Mr Vine has continued his work as a leakage technician during the coronavirus crisis and buys the food parcels in his spare time.

He has also donated tea bags and biscuits to Darent Valley Hospital and delivered toilet paper to a local residential home.

Steve Spencer, operations director at Thames Water, described Mr Vine’s actions as “truly exceptional”.

“I see examples of our people going the extra mile for our customers every day, but what Dean and his family are doing to support those struggling to get by during the lockdown is truly exceptional,” Mr Spencer said.

“I am extremely proud to be part of our operational business, in which our dedicated frontline teams are out in the community, performing the essential role of keeping taps running and toilets flushing.”

To donate to the fundraising appeal, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/food-parcels-for-the-elderly-amp-vulnerable

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