Members of Refuge Church in De Soto with first responders from the Valle Ambulance District.

Members of Refuge Church in De Soto delivered meals to first responders at the Valle Ambulance District.

Seeking to do something for long-term care facility employees and first responders working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic,  members of Refuge Church in De Soto raised money to provide them with a meal on April 29.

Jerry Wooten, the church’s pastor, said he started a GoFundMe account to raise the money and it didn’t take long to meet and surpass his goal.

“The goal was $2,000,” he said. “We raised a little over $2,300. It’s paid for 224 meals.”

Wooten said the meals went to employees at the Hillcrest, the Villas and My Place Too long-term care facilities, the De Soto Police Department, the De Soto Fire Department and the Valle Ambulance District.

Wooten said he wanted to patronize a local restaurant for the meals, so they bought them from the newly opened Cafe Smok N Pi.

“I wanted to take care of the health care workers and first responders, but also utilize a local restaurant,” he said. “They’re catered it. It was pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad. Myself and a couple members of the church delivered the food.”

Wooten said the meal distribution won’t necessarily be a one-time event.

“Depending on how long this goes on, we’ll do what we need to,” he said. “We’re just praying everyone in the community stays safe and well in this time of social distancing.”