Marion Senior Center recently delivered its own version of an MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) to participants of the North-Central Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging Friendship Meals Program.
“They’re kinda cute,” senior center manager Janet Bryant said. “Each person got one. We plan to deliver another in the spring.”
Although the packets’ charming appearance may persuade some diners to want to dig in right away, that is not the intent.
Termed an “emergency meal,” these single-serving rations were distributed in case adverse weather conditions, power failure, or an unforeseen disaster prevents the senior center from being able to deliver patrons’ regular meals.
All food in emergency meals is safe to eat cold if a person is without power.
It has been quite some time since the senior center was unable to deliver regular meals, Bryant said, but it has happened before.
“One time when the power went out I discovered I didn’t have a manual can opener,” Bryant said. “It was nice to have the easy open can for the soup because my electric can opener didn’t work.”
Packets contain one can of beef stew, four saltine crackers, one applesauce cup, one box of raisins, one juice box, and one packet of nonfat dry milk, which is similar to regular meals the senior center sends out and Bryant said is more than enough for one meal for some diners.
“In regular meals we send out, some people end up saving some of it for later,” Bryant said.
With moderate but filling portion sizes, about 620 calories are crammed into the emergency meal, which makes up about one third of the recommended daily caloric (1,600 to 1,800) intake for seniors with a sedentary or moderately active lifestyle, according to several online resources.
Foodies might be interested to hear that beef stew has easy-to-chew chunks of meat, potatoes, and carrots in a thick broth. The saltines have a have a delightful crunch and function well as makeshift spoon for dipping fans.
Needing to add water and stir, the powered milk takes the most preparation.
The applesauce might serve as dessert along with the juice box, which comes with a handy bendy straw.
Emergency meals should be stored in a dry cabinet for up to one year.
A suggested contribution of $3.50 or an amount a patron can comfortably afford asked for emergency meals.
Additional meals can be available to any senior center patron, by calling the senior center at (620) 382-2942.