For Kylie, who has been using the service since it started three months ago, knowing there is a nutritious meal waiting for her in the freezer has taken a lot of the stress out of moving into transitional accommodation.
“I used to love cooking with the kids but now I hate it. The money you spend on cooking for yourself, it’s just not worth it,” she told The Southern Cross.
“Moving out on my own I was really scared about cooking for myself. You can fall into a comfort eating pattern and then you skip meals.
“Being homeless and not having much money – of course you are going to feel rotten sometimes but the fact there is something so nutritious to eat is really good.”
Kylie said she found the meals provided “really delicious” and a perfect portion size, with roast pork, and the lamb and beef casseroles being her particular favourites.
Catherine House Fundraising, Events and Marketing manager, Jaylee Cooper, said the Meals on Wheels program had been one of the “silver linings” through COVID.
She explained that early in the pandemic Catherine House undertook a food services review to ensure a contingency plan was in place if their regular cooks became ill.
Around the same time Meals on Wheels approached the organisation offering to donate meals to their clients.
“We already had an existing partnership with Meals on Wheels through volunteering and our education and employment programs but we hadn’t really tapped into the food services side,” Jaylee explained.
“Through the partnership we are now able to provide nutritious, balanced meals, completely free of charge, to women who are starting their journey back in the community.
“That can be a really tough time for them… so for us to be able to offer them meals they can order online every fortnight has meant a huge cost saving for them and also taken away a lot of their stress.”
Jaylee said they had received “great feedback” from the 20-30 women assisted each month.
Not only did they appreciate the convenience of the pre-packaged freezer meals but commented that “they taste really nice and cater for different dietary requirements”.
Jaylee added it was a misconception that Meals on Wheels was a service for only the elderly.
“But really they have meals available for anyone – but particularly vulnerable people,” she said.
“Our hope is that some of the women might keep this up when they move on from Catherine House, as it’s such a fantastic service.”Jump to next article