A large college group in London is launching “Food Bank Friday” in an effort to combat food shortages for the most vulnerable people across the capital.

Panic shoppers in England have emptied supermarket shelves and hoarded goods amid the Covid-19 outbreak and food banks that rely on donations have been left struggling to stay open, according to reports.

In response, staff across London and South East Education Group’s 16 sites, which includes colleges and schools, will today (March 20) bring an item of food to be donated to local food banks.

It will be the last day that many of the group’s staff are in the classroom before it switches to mainly remote and digital teaching.

Chief executive Sam Parrett told FE Week that at this “very uncertain and difficult time, we want to support all our communities”.

“Coronavirus is already having a hugely negative economic and social impact across the region and it’s vital that we all pull together and help one another as much as possible,” she said.

“For this reason we are launching Food Bank Friday tomorrow. It will be the last day in the office or classroom for the majority of our staff and we are asking them to all bring an item or two to donate to local food banks, which are struggling with very limited donations at the moment.”

Parrett added that her group would “love to see” this initiative being replicated by other FE colleges and schools around the country.

“We all need a bit of positivity at the moment and one thing that has been wonderful to see across our organisation is the community spirit and willingness of people to help those less fortunate.”

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