The Tender Mercies program was initiated at the Midwest Food Bank (MFB) to help guide and extend our mission of alleviating food insecurity here in the United States and abroad. We know that people throughout the world strive daily to meet their most basic needs in life. This cross-cultural product addresses two of the most unjust hardships – lack of food and lack of nutrition.
Through gracious donors, both individual and corporate, MFB warehouses a supply of texture vegetable protein (TVP), dehydrated beans and rice. We partnered with a national manufacturer for the chicken flavoring base then enriched the meals with additional vitamin and mineral supplements. With the help of many professional individuals, MFB is now offering Tender Mercies - a dried, prepackaged meal that will serve 4 to 6 people. MFB has taken into consideration possible preparation and serving hindrances; whether they are language, literacy, fuel or measuring utensils. If water can be heated to a boil, a soul can be satisfied with a warm, flavorful and nutritious meal. Our volunteers who package the meals desire to make a difference and invest in the Kingdom of God’s goodness.
The benefits are immeasurable, but chief among them are:
- Tender Mercies is a vital tool for low-income families to help offset empty calories and low nutrition foods with servings of a high nutrition alternative.
- The high protein and fiber content leave a full, satisfied feeling.
- Each serving of Tender Mercies contains 6 grams of fiber (25% of the daily allowance). Low fiber diets have been shown to contribute to: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, abdominal ailments, coronary heart disease, and obesity.
- Through our extensive testing process we have found that children and adults alike enjoy the flavor and texture.
- The TVP in Tender Mercies takes on the flavor of added food products. This allows for a cross-cultural product as each ethnic population can add flavors suited to them whether that is onions, peppers, spices, meats, etc…
- The low cost per serving allows MFB to reach out to more people than ever. Each bag of Tender Mercies can feed a family of 4-6 for less than 50 cents. That makes our donated dollars reach further.
- Each serving of Tender Mercies contains up to 25% of recommended daily allowances of vitamins and minerals including, but not limited to; Vitamin A, Calcium, Vitamin C, Iron and Folic Acid.
- The Tender Mercies program is a double blessing. The obvious is to the recipient of the food. The other is to the volunteer by giving them opportunity to love unknown neighbors.
- Tender Mercies also allows MFB to reach farther into our ongoing disaster relief efforts across the U.S. One pallet of Tender Mercies can feed up to 6,000 people in a time of hardship.
- Tender Mercies is designed to be a cross-cultural product that can transcend the ethnic and cultural barriers and provide sustenance in the global arena.
- Tender Mercies can be served pleasingly as is, but spices, meats and vegetables can be added to alter the ethnic flair of the meal.
- Measuring devices are not needed as the bag is marked with a “fill here” line for water quantities.
- There are picture instructions, thus eliminating literacy restrictions.
- Strong Trade Mark design identity for easy recognition.
- Boiling of water is required to assure sanitary applications.
- A short cooking time of twenty to twenty five minutes allows for minimal fuel and energy consumption.
- Long shelf life and no need temperature controlled environments for preservation.
- Ease of shipment in palletized uniformity.
- Tender Mercies equals’ high nutrition in a small package. It would take multiple servings of scarce food supplies to equal its value and effectiveness. With this in mind, it takes less food sent internationally and smaller serving sizes to achieve the same result. This means less transportation costs, less handling and storage, less fuel and natural resources used clear through to final preparation. More efficient logistics for all parties equals less money spent and more blessings to more people in need.
Midwest Food Bank would love to schedule a time to partner with you, or your group, to create Tender Mercies. Contact us either by email or phone:
All ages enjoy helping package Tender Mercies!!
Tender Mercies Packaging Machine
In 2011 Midwest Food Bank stepped out in faith and partnering together with three national manufactures of packaging machines created a machine specific to Tender Mercies meals. Faithful volunteers came along side and provided their donations and valuable time in the vision, placement, installation and running.
This machine allows MFB to supply large orders for national and overseas. MFB uses it to package the Guided Mercies program. (see more on the Tender Mercies.com website)
It has also been essential in packaging bulk dry goods for distribution MFB's monthly distribution.
Tender Mercies meals and dried goods have shipped to: back programs in Arkansas, Indian Reservations in the West, food pantries through-out the nation, Haiti and Africa and other places in need.
This video was taken 11/11 by a volunteer's iphone. It shows Tender Mercies being packaged.