MOORHEAD — Area homeless shelters have taken extra steps to keep the people they serve safe during the coronavirus pandemic. Because of close quarters, infections could spread quickly.

For those who often come off the street looking for a meal, the shelter has offered bag lunches, but now Moorhead's Trinity Lutheran church has stepped in to begin serving hot meals.

Staff at Churches United cooked hot meals starting Monday, Nov. 16 at the shelter and brought them to Trinity Lutheran in Moorhead. The first of the hot meals were served during the noon hour by members of the church.

"Our mission is to be a light into downtown Moorhead and beyond and this is one way to fulfill that mission and be a part of the community, we have been partnering with Churches United since the beginning of Churches United," said Lutheran church pastor Matt Peterson.

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Lee from Moorhead came for the meal on Monday. He had been getting a sack lunch at the shelter.

"It is a good hot meal, location, and a nice place to eat," he remarked of the charitable service.

For Churches United, keeping the coronavirus out of the shelter has been key to avoiding an outbreak. They are grateful to have a church step up to provide a hot meal instead of a cold, bag lunch to those coming in off the street.

"Knock on wood, we have been healthy at the shelter and pantry, keeping people safe and we hope that continues," said Brent Brandt chief development officer for Churches United.

The feeding program is scheduled to run through winter. The hot meals are served on weekdays from Noon to 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran in Moorhead.