Kitchen staffers at the Golden Circle prepare about 500 frozen meals a week for area seniors, costing $7 a plate. The delivery program has surged in popularity since the pandemic started. (Contributed photo).

Frozen meal program for Red Deer-area seniors surges in popularity

‘It helps them stay safe’ in the pandemic

The Golden Circle has reached a pandemic milestone, having served up 10,000 frozen meals to Red Deer and district seniors since March 19.

The Red Deer senior centre’s frozen meals program has grown hugely since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, said its executive director, Monica Morrison.

She said 500 frozen meals were made up by kitchen staff just last week, compared to about 150 meals made weekly in the centre’s industrial kitchen before the pandemic hit.

“This is obviously something that the community really needs,” added Morrison, who believes the program helps more seniors stay home and out of grocery stores.

“It minimizes their risk and helps them stay safe.”

Reaching the 10,000-meal milestone by early fall is quite the feat, since the centre had made up 8,500 dinner plates during all of 2019, added Morrison.

She said the spike in public demand has meant having to buy a third large freezer for storage.

The frozen meals sell for $7 each and have been ordered — often in bulk — by about 200 older customers in central Alberta, including Red Deer County, Lacombe, and even Bentley and Spruce View.

Morrison said in-town deliveries are done by volunteers, while pickups can be arranged for out-of-town orders.

The types of food that can be selected from the centre’s menu includes roast beef, pasta, three kinds of soup, and a ham omelette — which can also serve as breakfast fare, said Morrison.

The only thing that can’t be ordered are desserts.

“We don’t have enough room” in the freezers, said Morrison, who joked the absence of sweets might keep people from visiting their fridges too often.

Seniors

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