Preparing to distribute free restaurant-cooked meals are, from left, Marialena Berry, Kinette Cager, Charlene Weathers, DeBora Frazier and Roslyn Jones. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

With COVID-19 impacting countless lives in South Los Angeles, Ward AME Church united with two nonprofits to lessen the pressure on individuals and families in need.

Ward’s Artishia Wilkerson Jordan Women’s Missionary Society joined with the National Action Network (NAN) and World Central Kitchen (ECK) to launch a multiple-day distribution of restaurant-cooked meals for community members.   The program kicked-off on April 28 and will continue every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Using the church’s parking lots on Adams Blvd and Magnolia Avenue, the groups staged separate pick-up sites for pedestrians and motorists to receive the meals. According to Ward Pastor John E. Cager III, packaged dinners are available to feed up to 250 individuals a day.

“The pandemic and quarantine have limited the access to quality meals for the shut-in and for precarious (gig) workers.  We are providing restaurant-quality meals so that our brothers and sisters won’t have to struggle to have a decent meal,” said Cager.

Describing how the collaboration came about, WMS president Roslyn Jones explained that Gloria Martin and Annette McDuffy-Rhodes, both WMS members, shared that they were volunteering at Cedar Grove Baptist Church with a similar food distribution effort.

“Annette put me in touch with McKenzie Richardson, a WCK representative. After two days of discussions and approval by Pastor Cager, we developed an arrangement that allowed Ward to participate in this program to help the community,” said Jones.

“Through this distribution, we hope that people will remember that the church does care,” she added.

Ward AME Church is located at 1177 W. 25th St., in Los Angeles. To learn more about the food distribution, call (23) 294-7077 or (310) 677-4779.