A MAJOR operation has been launched to keep the city fed.

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is setting up deliveries of food parcels and prepared meals amid the coronavirus crisis.

The scheme aims to keep places and people, such as care homes and residents who need to be shielded from the virus, get the food they need.

Restaurants with leftover food are being asked to donate and volunteers are being welcomed.

The city council is working with the partnership to bulk-buy food and essential items to increase supplies at food banks and hubs.

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, chairwoman of the environment, transport and sustainability committee, said: “I have found it immensely reassuring that our work with the Food Partnership has meant we’ve been able to get a programme together in a very short amount of time.

“We have been taking food donations from cafes and restaurants as they close, for which we are very grateful, and we are able to redirect them to people in need.

“We’ve also had donations from residents and countless offers of help and I’m proud of our city for coming together in these difficult circumstances to support our most vulnerable residents in Brighton and Hove.

“I want to extend my thanks to Vic Borrell and her team at the Food Partnership who are working round the clock to co-ordinate these efforts. Please do keep the donations coming.”

The food production kitchens and current food banks will ensure that people in need get food to their door or make sure it can be picked up.

The Food Partnership is currently fundraising to help its work.

It has raised £20,977 of the current £30,000 target.

Volunteers who have already signed up to help with food preparation, organisation and delivery have now been given letters identifying them as essential volunteers.

The letters will be accepted as proof of key worker status for any activities they are carrying out on behalf of the council’s response to Covid-19.

People who need support will be able to get in contact by either phone or through an online form, which is planned to be in place from early next week.

The huge effort is aimed to get food to vulnerable groups, who the Government has said need to be shielded.

Shielding is a measure to protect people who are clinically vulnerable by minimising all interaction between them and others.

Those considered “extremely vulnerable” include people who have had solid organ transplants, people with specific cancers, people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radical radiotherapy for lung cancer and those who are having immunotherapy or other antibody treatments.

They could also include people with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD as well as women who are pregnant with significant heart disease.

A full list can be found on the Government’s website.

Many people who the authorities have designated as extremely vulnerable have already been contacted.

The scheme is also helping places in need of food which might be in difficulties.

Last week, The Argus reported on a Hove care home, Arlington House, which was struggling to source food amid panic buying.

Panic buying has led supermarkets to limit food purchases per customer, which the home says is having a major impact on it finding supplies.

Roxana Steedman, who owns the home with husband David, said: “We are terrified and desperate for help.

“We normally place two £300 orders with Asda a week but now they are cutting them back – our order is now down to £200.”

A Brighton and Hove City spokesman said: “Homes sourcing enough food is a key priority.

“We are working with all homes who have said they require support with this.

“We are inviting staff whose duties are currently non-essential to volunteer for roles supporting care and nursing homes.”

For those who would like to volunteer, visit bhfood.org.uk/coronavirus-update.

For people who would like to donate, visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hungry-at-home-2020.

l The coronavirus Sussex Crisis Fund has been set up to help those affected by the pandemic. The Argus’s charity and American Express have each donated £50,000 to kick-start it. See page 6.