ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. ( -- A North County church is collaborating with two local organizations to ensure community members can get tested for COVID-19.

Five members of Christ the King United Church of Christ tested positive for the coronavirus. Two of them have died.

With a high concentration of positive cases in north St. Louis County, this church is working to make more tests available for the community.

“People of color, African Americans, we have been pretty much deprived of some of the COVID testing and some testing in general,” said Michelle Grimes with CareSTL.

In Missouri, African Americans account for 37% of reported COVID-19 deaths despite making up just 11 % of the state’s population.

More testing is just the tip of the iceberg, according to the organizers.

“There’s some frustration about whether or not people feel valued because although we’re here now it’s taken a while for us to get here,” said Gabrielle Kennedy, the director of Faith and the Sake of All.

Christ the King United Church, Faith and the Sake of All and CareSTL worked together to provide COVID-19 tests, masks and hand sanitizer Friday.

“There is hope and there’s grief,” Christ the King Rev. Traci Blackmon said. “There’s anger and there are moments of joy and laughter that we’re able to help people, all of that happening at one time.”

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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