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Every few weeks, when the freezer looks empty, the women of Trinity Sussex’s ACW and Mothers’ Union get together to fill it up. Others from neighbouring St. Mark’s and Waterford lend a hand — all in an effort to meet a community need.

They gather, prepare a meal, divide it up into individual servings, and freeze it. Then when someone needs a meal, it’s there for them.

“The idea came from [former rector] Tom Stradwick,” said Georgie Keith. “We started doing it during COVID-19 as a way to reach out to a community in need.”

The project fell by the wayside for awhile, but it’s been picked up again in recent months.

“We renewed it last fall because we saw a need for it,” she said. “The freezer’s been empty at least three times since Christmas.”

While the ladies call this initiative the freezer ministry, it’s really more of a “leave a meal - take a meal” deal, because any freezable leftovers from parish gatherings are used, and parishioners are encouraged, when they have leftovers at home, to package them up, label them, freeze them and bring them to the church hall. 

In turn, anyone can take a meal should they need one, including parishioners, parents of youth group kids, and people who drop in and pick one up.

“It’s nice when they come to get a meal,” said Georgie. “They’re very friendly.”

Rector Dan McMullen often grabs a meal when he’s on his way to a pastoral visit, and he hears about needs when he’s out and about, so the meals are going to lots of different people in the community.

“A great ministry, used by many, including me sometimes! We have a couple families from our Kids Club who take meals weekly,” said Dan.

On the day the NB Anglican visited, the ladies were preparing potato scallop, baked beans and sausage. They hoped to get 12 to 14 meals out of their efforts. The beans had already been baked by 92-year-old Margaret Corbett, who couldn’t be there to help that morning.

The congregation often donates not only their leftovers, but also the ingredients for the next round of meals. So far they group has prepared chili, meatloaf with vegetables and mashed potatoes, soup, chicken pot pies, stew, biscuits, cookies and muffins — anything that can be easily frozen and reheated in a microwave.

 Pat Bell was one of the kitchen workers during our visit.

“There are people who are hungry,” she said.

“I came from a poor family, so I know,” said Anne Anderson, another of the helpers.

It is that care and concern for the community that drives this simple but effective ministry. They now have people regularly coming to pick up a meal whenever the church is open, and the group is eager to make sure the freezer is never empty.

“It’s proven to be really popular,” said kitchen helper Joy Knox.

Photo captions:
1. Joy Knox and Carol Branscombe separate the food into individual containers for freezing. Georgie Keith photo
2.  Pat Bell, Georgie Keith and Lydia Janes (ACW branch president) get to work on the potato scallop.
3.  Pat Bell peels potatoes for the freezer ministry.
4. The basis for the latest freezer meal at Trinity, Sussex: baked beans, sausages and potatos for a scallop.
McKnight photos

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