A newly formed army of local nonprofits, donors, agencies and volunteers are teaming up with Orange County restaurants with a single mission in mind — to deliver some 5,000 fresh meals each week to those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the collaboration Delivering with Dignity Orange County are combining their public and private networks and resources to find individuals and families most in need and provide them the comfort and care of a warm meal.

The group’s first delivery, 150 meals prepared by staff at Toast Kitchen + Bakery in Costa Mesa, took place Wednesday as a line of volunteer drivers loaded bags of spaghetti Bolognese, salad, chicken and mashed potatoes into their backseats and took off in all directions.

The effort came at a crucial time.

The Orange County Health Agency on Wednesday reported 26 new deaths from the coronavirus and 363 hospitalizations, the highest levels since reporting began. Conversely, the county’s testing rates fell Wednesday to a record low. Only 1,478 tests were reported — less than one-third of the county’s June 17 peak testing day.