Not-for-profit organisation Meals on Wheels Hartlepool noticed that “cauliflowers and cabbages have shrunk in size and grown in price” as a result of a poor European growing season and rising energy costs.
So it spoke to allotment growers in town and decided to buy produce directly from them in what has been described as a “win-win arrangement”.
Suzi Dear, from the service, explained: “Hartlepool Meals on Wheels thought about our local allotment growers who themselves are coping with increased costs and came up with the idea to buy produce directly from them.
"This win-win arrangement means that our elderly can enjoy the freshest possible cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, greens and rhubarb, apples, etc, while our local allotment growers benefit from financial help with their own rising costs.
"Our Meals on Wheelers now enjoy vegetables from the ground to plate on the same day.
"It’s unbelievable how delicious and highly nutritious allotment grown produce is.”
The Meals on Wheels Hartlepool service has been running in Hartlepool since 2021 and delivers 1,500 “freshly cooked” meals a month – on real crockery and with puddings as a sweet – to the elderly and immobile across town.
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Described as “one of the very few towns in the whole of the UK that has its own plated Meals on Wheels service”, Hartlepool benefits from deliveries 365 days a year.
The organisation consists of more than 25 volunteers, two professional chefs and “a wonderful five-star rated commercial kitchen based in the Hospital of God Day Centre at Greta Court”.
Thanking all its supporters for their efforts, Suzi added: “The service couldn’t exist if we didn’t have the help of our amazing volunteers.
"We also work closely with Hartlepower, Hartlepool Carers, Dementia awareness, Hospital of God Day Centre and lots of other important local community groups.
"We thank Kings Fishmongers for supporting us with their amazing Friday fishcakes too.”
To find out more about the Meals on Wheels Hartlepool scheme, contact Tim on 07801 745721 or google Meals on Wheels Hartlepool.