Business donates Covid tests to charity

Totara Hospice medical director Dr James Jap, centre, says the organisation is thrilled to accept 5000 Covid-19 tests from Fundraise Factory’s mother and daughter Pip Burns, left, and Bo Burns, right. Times photo Wayne Martin

An east Auckland business is donating thousands of vital Covid-19 tests to an organisation dedicated to caring for people at the end of their lives.

Howick-based Fundraise Factory is giving 5000 rapid antigen tests (RATs), worth about $50,000, to Totara Hospice, which cares for terminally ill patients in east and south Auckland.

The business helps schools, charities, and community groups raise money by selling sustainable, branded merchandise.

Sales and marketing director Bo Burns says when the last lockdown struck the company had to “pivot” to selling Covid personal protective equipment (PPE) gear to keep its staff employed.

“The Fundraise Factory brand was hugely impacted because schools were shut so there were no school uniforms [being bought], sports clubs were shut, no medals, nothing.”

In November last year the business gained approval to supply and sell RATs.

Burns ordered 20,000 tests not knowing she would be able to sell all of them.

The business eventually sold most of its tests to charities and she then spoke to staff at Totara Hospice, which is one of its clients.

“They were telling me about issues they were having and how they were told to pre-order [the tests] online.

“They were ordering 1000 RATs at a time but were receiving 50 or 80.”

Burns’ family and business have strong ties to Totara Hospice.

Her mother Pip Burns was heavily involved with the organisation years ago and oversaw its fundraising.

That’s why Bo Burns says when she heard about the challenges Totara Hospice was having obtaining RATs she decided to donate it 100 tests from her stock.

But she then received a call from one of her suppliers, Australian-based Promo Collection, which asked if there was a charity in New Zealand that needed help getting RATs.

“I said absolutely, and he said they’ve got 5000 they can help us supply to a charity here.

“I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, yes, that’s amazing’.”

That’s how Fundraise Factory came to have 5000 tests which it’s now donating to Totara Hospice.

“We could have split them up or done competitions or given smaller numbers away,” Burns says.

“But I really think Hospice are the ones most in need right now.

“Our supplier could have offered these tests to a multitude of charities in Australia and I will forever be grateful he gave one of our much-loved charities the opportunity.”

Totara Hospice medical director Dr James Jap told the Times the organisation says a big ‘thank you’ to Burns, Fundraise Factory and its supply partner Promo Collection for donating the tests.

He says they’ll be used to ensure people visiting Hospice patients, as well as Hospice nurses seeing patients in the community, are negative for Covid.

“Most of our work is done in the community, going to patients’ homes and seeing them and their families there.

“So it will allow us to maintain safe staffing levels.

“Also, if patients are being brought in and they have visitors, we can ensure our patients will stay safe in our unit because they’re some of the most vulnerable people in New Zealand.

“We want to do our best to maintain their safety at all costs and RATs will make a big difference towards that.

“It’s great a local member of one of the communities we serve is helping us out in this way.”

Burns says the RATs were on their way to Totara Hospice on March 24.