Meet the super mums cooking free meals for strangers

Jane Stowell keeps herself busy cooking dinners for strangers.

She's been doing it every week since last October when she came across a Facebook group called Meals for Mum.

"I think it's the giving. The giving to people," she says.

The idea is simple: People can either offer a homemade meal, or ask for one.

The group's managed by Paula Prouse and Erin Cotter and since it started 4 months ago, it's gained more than 15,000 members. 

Each week hundreds of meals are given and gratefully received.

"I think it's so popular because we live so disconnected from people now. Food has always been something that brings us together," Ms Prouse says.

They each spend 30 hours a week on the page. Moderating comments and vetting potential members. At the moment 300 people are waiting to join.

Ms Prouse wants to encourage more parents to put up their hands for help.

"There are lots of organisations set up for financial hardship; this is open to all mums, all families to receive a bit of kindness."

The concept of giving through social media is growing. New Zealand's first major example was the Student Volunteer Army, which connected students with quake affected residents after the September 2010 earthquake in Canterbury.

Ms Stowell says she'll keep up her weekly offerings so long as there's demand.

"It costs you time and money, is it worth it? Some people might say 'no' but I'd never say that, because I just get a kick out of it."

She's never short of takers.

"Generally I only have to wait about half an hour and they are gone."

Sally Vertongen is a working mum with 2 young children.

"It's heaven. It's like mum being there like in the old days," she says.

The group believes all parents deserves a one-off piece of goodwill.