The staff at Dominion Senior Living in Richmond wanted to do something to give back to the community, especially those people who are on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They decided a simple gesture would make a big statement.

"We just said, 'Let's feed people.' The best way to the heart is through the belly, of course," said Amanda Henninger, community relations manager.

On Thursday afternoon, Dominion Senior Living offered free meals to any first responders. The staff handed out barbecue sandwiches, hot dogs, sides and cookies to paramedics, firemen and law enforcement officers and other officials.

The meal was prepared by executive chef David Phillips and his staff.

"My company is amazing and they just want to love on people through this pandemic," Henninger said.

After the lunch, the first responders circled around the facility and flashed their lights and run their sirens as Dominion Senior Living residents — and others in the neighborhood — watched, waved and held signs.

The convoy made three trips around the building.

The event was made even more special for the residents, because many of their families and friends joined in the parade.

No visitors have been allowed in the building in more than a month.

So, the only way residents have been able to see their families has been from a distance.

"They can see their face and you know that they support them and care," Henninger said. "If they could come in, they would. It makes them feel good. It's good just to see their face."

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