AN ITALIAN restaurant has helped feed hundreds of homeless people, stocked care homes and helped dozens of desperate families in need of supplies.

Donatello in Brighton Place, Brighton, was left with fresh fruit and vegetables and already prepared meals when restaurants were closed by the Government on Friday night.

So it set to work putting the surplus supplies to good use.

After posting an appeal on Facebook, the restaurant was inundated with pleas for help.

Owner Sue Addis said staff had donated food to food banks, care homes and other individuals in desperate need.

She said: “I had hundreds of people contact us to say they needed help.

“We’ve donated to the soup kitchens. food banks and the elderly.

“I’ve had people call me to say they are single parents and can’t feed their kids.

“We just wanted to do whatever we could to help. My daughter in law has been out delivering food to single mums.

“I’m still getting calls and every single person who gets in touch I want to help.

“A lot of people have been having trouble getting hold of supplies they needed.

“We had lots of eggs and pasta which people haven’t been able to find in the shops.

“We have no idea how this is all going to work out, but it feels better to be doing something good.

“All our food has now been distributed to very worthwhile causes.

“It was a huge task and we are so grateful to everyone for their help at this very trying time.

“We have been inundated with calls and suggestions and everyone has been amazing.

“We have a long list of charities, food banks, care homes, elderly and single parents who we are now donating directly to and want to thank the whole of Brighton for their support.”

As well as fresh food the restaurant was also able to donate toilet roll and other paper goods.

The restaurant is now closed but will be considering a takeaway option in the near future.

Jim Deans, of Sussex Homeless Support, said his group was able to feed many more homeless people thanks to Donatello’s help.

He said: “Donatello gave us so much fresh produce we were able to feed 120 people on Saturday and another 60 on Sunday and 40 on Monday.

“There were so many pubs and restaurants closing on Friday – with some of them not knowing if they’ll ever open again – but they were all really generous with their donations which makes a big difference.

“The people who will be worst affected by this are the most vulnerable, the bottom run – and that’s all our clients.”

Moulsecoomb Community Support group was able to distribute some of Donatello’s stock to those at most need across the estate

Emma Sturgess, a volunteer from the group, said: “We collected, bagged and distributed their stock and most went to the elderly, disabled and people with children on a low income from Staplefield Drive and Wheatfield Way.

“It’s brightened people’s days to know people care, to know they are not alone and to see friendly faces that are happy to help.

“I’m meeting people I have never spoken to after being in my road for 12 years.

“So if there is anything good to take from this is that people are talking and the community spirit is coming back.

“I would like to say a massive thank you to Donatello. I hope people remember these businesses after our country is over this virus.”