BUSINESSES, community groups and charities have been praised for their 'magnificent' support after donating food to help vulnerable people across Wirral during the coronavirus pandemic.

Companies and organisations such as Cereal Partners UK, Smylies, Morrisons, Regal, M&S, Jacobs, Tesco, Booker, Kellogs, Neighborly, Infinite Nutrition and a Wirral bakery were among those responding to the joint call for help from Wirral Chamber of Commerce and the council, donating thousands of items of food.

More businesses are pledging support by the day.

Food has also been donated by the Floral Pavilion, West Kirby Concourse and Europa Pools in Birkenhead.

Many community food providers and local groups have also contributed to the huge effort, including, Feeding Birkenhead - Supporting Wirral, Neo Community, The Bistro at The Lauries, Number 7, St James Community Centre and Wirral Foodbank.

Paula Basnett, chief executive from Wirral Chamber of Commerce, said: "We knew that asking our business community for donations during these severe economic times was always going to be a difficult challenge, in spite of this what we have seen is businesses of all sizes unite to support our most vulnerable residents.

"Now more than ever, we all need to support one another.

"Our businesses fully understand that they too have a role to play in the fight against coronavirus and I’m proud of our business community for continuing to not only deliver our essential services, but to also donate the food that some of our most vulnerable needs to survive.”

A Wirral council spokesperson added: "The response from local businesses has been magnificent.

"They've risen to this unprecedented challenge and share our commitment that local people won’t go hungry because of the current situation.

"Their generous support has allowed partners at Wirral’s Emergency Food Hub alone to distribute more than 20 tonnes of food in 2200 hampers, providing much needed food to over 5000 people."

Chris Hughes, managing director at Regal Wholesale, said: "At a time when the whole of society are working together for a common cause we're extremely proud at Regal that our position as a Wirral-based international distributor of essential everyday products has allowed us to turn our attention to supporting local hospitals, charities and the most vulnerable at their greatest time of need."

Maris Swaby, factory supply chain manager for Cereal Partners UK said: "Cereal Partners Bromborough in collaboration with Great Bear distribution understand we have a very important role to play during the COVID-19 crisis.

"We are proud to be able to support the local food banks in our community with breakfast cereals they need and love".

Chris Smylie, managing director at Smylies said: "Smylies are proud to be supporting our local area and the most vulnerable.

"We are fortunate enough to be able to make a difference and wanted to do what we can to help.

"At a time when so many people are suffering we decided to donate food and drink for people who are in most need of it.

"It is wonderful to see the whole community unite and support each other in such a way that most of us have never seen before."