MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many seniors are staying at home to keep themselves out of the path of COVID-19.

That’s why members of a north Minneapolis church are making sure they can look forward to having hot meals and a friendly voice.

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Volunteers are showing their love for the more seasoned members of the community in the basement of New Salem Baptist Church. They are following all safety precautions to make sure the meals they are preparing are safe for the seniors who will eat them.

Pastor Jerry McAfee (credit: CBS)

Pastor Jerry McAfee sent his team to senior high rises and homes on the north side to see if there was a need for prepared food.

“We heard a lot about the different things that was going on with the schools, and getting the kids and stuff lunch. And when Sen. [Bobby Joe] Champion and I was talking, he said, ‘Mac, I think that there’s a lot of seniors that might be missing and others that, you know, can’t get to stops and otherwise,'” McAfee said. “So the need is there. And it’s not that some people aren’t doing some things, but as in everything, some things fall through the gap.”

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It didn’t take long for several volunteer cooks to come together and start whipping up macaroni and cheese and collard greens. The grillmaster has been smoking whole turkeys to feed the 100-plus seniors who said they need this resource.

“Before this particular initiative, it is an act of love to prepare the meal, to gather around the kitchen, to have them in mind and then take the next step of taking it to them and giving it to them with love,” Champion said.

State Senator Bobby Joe Champion (credit: CBS)

He says this is a labor of love that started with money out of Rev. McAfee’s pocket, and has evolved into the village contributing what it can.

“It is letting them know through our actions, because love is an action word, that we really do love them,” Champion said.

Groups like this and Meals on Wheels hope to continue feeding people in need. They are accepting volunteer time and money donations.

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Reg Chapman