MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Open Arms is a Minnesota nonprofit that cooks and delivers free meals to people living with HIV-AIDS, multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and 60 other diseases.

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Today, Open Arms celebrated its three millionth meal, delivered by a volunteer who has been with the program for 16 years.

“Think about the labor of love it took to plant those seeds, to weed those crops, to harvest the produce, to chop the vegetables, to stir the soup, to wrap the sandwiches, to frost the cakes, to seal the trays, to pack the bags, and deliver those to the doorsteps for three million meals,” said said Open Arms Director Tim Reardon.

Volunteer Dottie Johnson is floored by people’s appreciation.

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“It’s a couple that I’ve been delivering to for a little while — they live over in south Minneapolis,” she said. “You know, so many of these folks, so many of them, do not get out, and some of them don’t drive. Over time, you get to know them, and you talk to them. They’re really a nice couple, and most appreciative of the meals.”

And people like Tyrone welcome the gift.

“It helps us a great deal, because we don’t always feel good, or feel well enough to go in the kitchen and sometimes fix the food,” Tyrone said. “And it’s great when it comes already fixed, and all you have to do is heat it up and serve it.”

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Much of the food that Open Arms puts into its meals comes from a small farm located just south of the Twin Cities.