Demand increases for frozen meals during pandemic

Volunteers seeing uptick in demand for frozen seniors’ meals this year.

Volunteers provide health nutritious food for the Frozen Meals program. (Photo submitted)

Volunteers with the Interlakes Community Centre are seeing an uptick in demand for frozen seniors’ meals this year, with new clients as far away as Lac La Hache and 70 Mile House.

Maggie Benzing, program coordinator with the Interlakes Community Centre Association, said cooks are being kept busy in the kitchen, preparing 35 different meals for people who are older or infirm. The healthy small-sized meals, which sell for $4 each, can be picked up Wednesday to Saturday at the Indoors Farmers Market in 100 Mile House.

“We’ve got a lot of new clients this year,” Benzing said. “When COVID started people didn’t feel comfortable to go for groceries; they were more comfortable buying from us.”

The program, run by the Roe Lake & District Recreation Commission since 2015, offers healthy meals cooked from scratch, with fresh vegetables and meat and low sodium as well as gluten-free options. Volunteers meet every second week to make 10-12 meals, ranging from the most popular dishes of meatloaf and Shepherd’s Pie to chicken, meatballs, rice and roast beef dinners.

‘They are meant to be for seniors and people getting sick,” Benzing said.

There are 15 volunteers on the list, but only four are allowed in the kitchen to cook in the morning, and two in the afternoon to pack up the meals in microwavable containers for distribution.

The meals cost about $6.20 to make but prices are kept low thanks to donations from the South Cariboo Health Foundation, 100 Mile Legion, private donors and the Food Bank, which provides fresh vegetables that aren’t in huge demand. Last year, the centre sold more than $3,000 in meals. About 90 percent of meals are sold to 100 Mile residents.

Meals can also be picked up at the Community Centre but call first at 250-593-4869.

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