Only for the two-course lunch delivered daily to the homes of many of Cookstown’s elderly, they would not be sitting down to a hot evening meal.
The service, provided by the town’s 040 [Opportunities for Older People] charity has been described as a vital to their livelihood.
So with that in mind the Mail joined its president Margaret Gilbert and her husband Cyril on the bank holiday lunch delivery to find out just how vital the service is.
Many of the customers we spoke to said if it was not for 040 they simply wouldn’t get a hot meal every day.
Others said it gives them a welcome break from cooking, while some reported not being able to stand at the cooker long enough to cook and said the service was ‘a Godsend’.
The meals, which range from roast beef dinners to fish and chips are prepared daily at the 040’s new premises at Cookstown Enterprise Centre, after which they are organised and packed into thermal bags and delivered in order - to keep petrol costs down - in time for 12 o’clock lunch.
I get my dinner most days. It’s a big help to me because I wouldn’t be able to cook the dinner as I can’t get about - 040 customer
Mrs Gilbert said some of their customers like to eat right after it has been delivered, while others keep it until evening and heat it up in the microwavable containers.
And as every customer has their own tastes, dietary requirements and nuances, chef Maureen tries to serve them exactly what they want.
“Some of them just take potatoes and veg, some are not fussed on meat and only take chicken - some of them just take fish,” she explained.
“They all have their own wee likes and dislikes and we try to cater for all that.”
Describing how the set-up works, 040 driver Charlie said: “On a normal Monday I go round and lift people at their houses and take them in here for dinner and then I go out and deliver dinners and when I come back, I take them home.”
As well as the dinner delivery service provided by 040, the charity also runs a luncheon club at their Cookstown premises - for which transport can also be provided.
What the customers say
040’s lunch service can provide a hot meal and desert for customers every day of the week, although Sunday’s is delivered along with Saturday’s offering.
Some customers have it every day, while others use the service only a few days a week.
“The service is very good indeed,” said one customer.
“I have it an odd time just for variety. I would struggle without it,” said Mrs Loughran.
Another lady, who didn’t want to be named said: “I get my dinner most days. It’s a big help to me because I wouldn’t be able to cook the dinner as I can’t get about. I’m not steady enough and my legs wouldn’t bear up enough to stand and boil an egg.
“I like the cooking - they’re well cooked and there’s a variety.
“I’m a gluten free person and they give me meals that suit that. I’m very well pleased with it and I get it delivered to the door winter and summer.”