The staff and volunteers at the Midwest Food Bank Morton have been prototyping larger bags of the Tender Mercies meal packet – rice, pre-cooked pinto beans, soy protein and chicken flavored seasoning. These larger bags are especially helpful for food pantries that serve meals to large numbers of people. MFB Haiti also has an interest in creating larger bags for the school programs that prepare lunch for students.

St. John's Breadline in Springfield, IL, feeds between 200-300 people every day. The footprint of their kitchen in small but efficient as 2-3 cooks prepare meals for homeless and others in need. We asked St. John's to prepare the larger portion bags for their guests and provide feedback.

On a recent visit, MFB's staff toured St. John's, and the cook prepared the larger bag. It was put into large pans mixed with water and chicken broth, then placed in the oven to cook. By the end of the tour, it was ready to be served. Many positive comments were made about the Tender Mercies meal.

"It is easy for the kitchen staff to prepare," said Shawna Harris, Director of St. John's Breadline. "This meal packet can be used in many ways - a side dish, soup or even a main casserole dish when chicken, beef or vegetables are added."

The larger bags of Tender Mercies serve 25 people and cost about $3.50 each – low cost, high nutrition. They are a way Midwest Food Bank continues to serve food pantries and other feeding programs.

As MFB plans to offer these larger bags an assembly tube component will be needed for the Tender Mercies machine. This inter-changeable part will allow the machine to manufacture the larger bags. The cost of that part is about $4,000 and we would gratefully accept your donations. Thank you in advance for prayerfully considering this need.

For more information about the Tender Mercies meal packet program, please contact Midwest Food Bank Morton at 309-291-0900, or email Gail Thorson at

Below are some photos from the visit.