As a faith based organization, the mission of Midwest Food Bank (MFB) is to alleviate hunger and poverty by gathering and distributing donations to not-for-profits and disaster sites without cost to the recipients. In 2009, the Peoria Division of MFB, began searching for a way to provide more nutritious food offerings. The goal was to develop a complete meal package using bulk donated and purchased items.
Help was sought from University of Illinois – National Soy Research Laboratory, Illinois Soybean Association, Archer Daniels Midland and Watson International. After months or research, data gathering and taste testing, Tender Mercies production began.
Tender Mercies is a four serving, bagged meal, that is easy to prepare and tastes delicious. Each part of the meal was carefully selected based on nutritional value and flavor. The meal includes beans (fiber), textured vegetable protein, rice, natural herbs and seasonings (created especially for Tender Mercies) and a boost of essential vitamins. It is easy to prepare – boiling water is all that isneeded.
Volunteers at the Peoria division of MFB began hand packaging Tender Mercies in 2010. A packaging machine was installed in 2012 to handle the larger quantity orders. In 2013, the packaging equipment was moved to the Morton, IL, MFB division. The Morton division was established as the central Packaging & Logistics facility for the organization. Hand packaging continues in the Peoria & Morton facilities. Tender Mercies was approved as kosher and vegan in 2014.