Demand for frozen meals from Presbyterian Support not slowing down


Rowena Collings pours gravy onto the dinners at The Croft on Wednesday.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

Rowena Collings pours gravy onto the dinners at The Croft on Wednesday.

Demand for a South Canterbury charity’s frozen meals doubled in lockdown and remains high.

Presbyterian Support South Canterbury (PSSC) chief executive Carolyn Cooper said the organisation’s Too Easy Meals service prepared 3763 frozen meals in April and 2500 in May, and while the count for June had not yet been tallied, they had averaged 135 a day.

Before Covid-19 closed the country, the service was preparing 80 to 90 meals a day.

“It’s good that there’s more demand because it means people are getting food, and they’re getting a more nutritional meal,” Cooper said.

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“The April figures were a big jump and while they’ve dropped a bit, they’re still higher than they were previously.

Dinners prepared for the freezer.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

Dinners prepared for the freezer.

“Some elderly are still not that keen to be out and about.”

She said the continued spike in demand could also be attributed to the convenience, low price, and the fact it was hard to cook and purchase ingredients for one person.

“It’s good to do something that’s helping people and food is so important.”

Cooper would not divulge whether the spike was benefiting PSSC’s Family Works initiative, which operates at “deficit funding”, but the frozen meals service was at least breaking even.

“Any money we make from any venture goes back into supporting Family Works,” she said.

Debra Whiting packs fresh food into containers.

Bejon Haswell/Stuff

Debra Whiting packs fresh food into containers.

The service began about eight years ago for those who could not get to the supermarket or cook for themselves. The frozen meals are prepared in kitchens at Timaru’s the Croft and Temuka’s Wallingford rest home complexes.

“It’s predominantly older people or people with health problems. That’s where the need was, but it’s definitely available to everybody,” Cooper said.

“The meals are the same meals our residents get.”

Delivering was introduced in lockdown but until then, meals had to be collected at the rest homes.

“The deliveries will be there as long as people need it.”

Meals range in price from $4 to $10 each with a $30 family option, and $2 extra for a dessert. The delivery fee is $6.