NOVATO, Calif. - At a home in Novato, a father and son were making a very special delivery Thursday.
They were delivering about a week's worth of carefully prepared meals to Ruth Leader, who was the fifth grade teacher of the young man bringing her the food. He's a high school senior now.
"Miss Leader was my favorite elementary school teacher," says Miles Elkins.
Now retired, Miss Leader has a heart condition on top of a past battle with breast cancer. A high risk for COVID-19, she shouldn't leave her house, not during a pandemic.
"It was absolutely amazing. And not surprised this student would do that," said Leader.
"It means everything to see the smile on her face when I bring the food to her," said Elkins.
Leader is one of more than 450 people with vulnerable immune systems in Marin and Sonoma Counties who are receiving specially prepared meals from the non-profit Ceres Community Project.
The clients' list has more than doubled since the coronavirus struck. That includes three people so far with COVID-19.
The meals are prepared in kitchens in Sebastopol and San Rafael. Then they are delivered up to 20 at a time by a team of volunteers.
"What we focus on is a really heart healthy diet that is made with whole foods, whole grains. No processed sugar. Very high in vegetables. And we are unique in that we do all organic meals," says Deborah Ramelli, the Ceres Community Project spokeswoman
"You're not feeling the best. I have not been to a store. I'm in my fourth week of isolation at the moment," said Leader.
The idea is to keep these immune compromised patients indoors. That lessens their chances of becoming sick, and needing hospital beds that could otherwise go to COVID-19 patients.
"My goal is when I get healthy again I would love to volunteer for the program," says Leader.