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Mike Whitaker, kitchen manager at Open Door Ministries, hands out to-go boxes to the public.

HIGH POINT — A local ministry with a long history of helping the homeless population is seeking money to keep a mobile meal program rolling.

Providing hot meals to the community is one of the greatest challenges COVID-19 has presented to Open Door Ministries, which operates an overnight shelter for men.

Although its Father’s Table dining room has been closed to the public since March 2020, Open Door continues to serve meals to the shelter residents, socially distanced and in shifts.

Like many organizations facing COVID-19 restrictions, Open Door Ministries adapted its model of serving meals to the public. The group began serving to-go boxes in the parking lot at the facility at 400 N. Centennial St. and at first served 75-100 meals at breakfast and lunch. By late October they served even more — approximately 140 per day.

Colder weather in November, followed by a spike in COVID-19 over the winter, reduced the number of those coming to Open Door for to-go boxes. In response, Open Door Ministries shifted the model yet again with COVID-19 relief grant money that provided for a mobile meals program named Meals on the Move.

The group bought a van with the same grant money and began taking the meals into surrounding neighborhoods, eliminating the barriers of cold weather, travel distance and the fear of getting out and contracting COVID-19. There proved to be great demand in areas of the city such as West End, Washington Street and Five Points.

The long-term goal for Meals on the Move is to continue to partner with other community organizations like West End Ministries and local churches to expand the outreach for meal delivery, serving up to three meals per day.

The COVID-19 relief grant money for Meals on the Move runs out this month. Open Door Ministries continues to seek additional funds for the program. The hope is for a highly successful upcoming annual Virtual Blessings luncheon on March 16.

If you would like to contribute, checks may be sent to Open Door Ministries, P.O. Box 1528, High Point, NC 27261, or donations may be made online at opendoorministrieshp.org/ 2020-luncheon-event/.