NEWARK, NJ — The seniors of Newark’s low-income housing communities are some of the city’s most vulnerable residents as the coronavirus continues to ravage New Jersey, leaving many of them isolated and dependent on others for food and supplies. 

As part of an effort to prevent the elderly from exposing themselves to the virus, Newark Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose and members of the Newark Fire Division cooked and delivered hot meals to the city’s senior housing projects on Thursday. 

“I am thankful that the Department of Public Safety took the initiative to ensure that our seniors have a hot meal,” Mayor Ras Baraka said of the act of kindness. “With our shelter-in-place order in effect, our seniors can use a bit of additional support, and Newark firefighters are some of the best cooks around.”

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The city’s case count was at 785 and 21 deaths on Thursday, with the state’s resting at 25,590 positives and 537 deaths. New Jersey remains the second-leading state in positive cases behind New York. 

Tour 3 of Newark Engine 7 were responsible for preparing the meals, while Fire Captain Claudio Dominguez and firefighters Stephen Wolf, Jorge Ramos and Brandon Aviles cooked and packed them for distribution. 

The Fire Division’s Community Relation’s Unit delivered the meals to the city’s various senior communities. 

“Recognizing that many older residents are afraid to go out and may be sheltering alone, we felt that preparing and distributing these meals for them was the least we could do,” Ambrose said.