ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Over the past few weeks, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ellicott City has lived up to its name.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, a weekly tradition has arisen: parents, students, faculty and staff members at the church have packed lunches to be given to those in need throughout Baltimore.

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“A lot of people are going hungry, out of work, underemployed and the need for food is great,” Father Mike Triplett said.

To meet that need, the team has ramped up its donations. After starting with around 325 lunches the first week, the effort has grown to include more than 2,000 weekly meals.

The church community has been making meals for more than five years, but the pandemic has brought on a significant increase in demand.

“Right now it’s really challenging because there would be places they could go to for a hot meal or the ability to sit down to get out of the elements and now they don’t have that,” parish administrator Lisa Sliker said.

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Since the pandemic began, organizers said they’ve given away more than 10,000 meals, all of which were packed with homemade items like Nancy Jones’ desserts.

“It’s something small that I’m doing but at least I’m doing something to try to help,” she said.

The volunteers hope their efforts will show those who are struggling that someone cares about them.

“It starts with a smile and letting every person you encounter they’re loved, and that’s what this ministry is about, every person is loved,” Sliker said.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Sean Streicher