These shelf stable food boxes give in-home seniors access to meals in the event of an emergency.

This month, the Marshfield Senior Center is making up "shelf-stable" food boxes.

Each box will consist of enough items for two meals, according to Chris Parker, administrator of the Marshfield Senior Center.

"We will deliver them in November," said Parker. "The clients can put them on their shelf and hold them in case of emergencies."

By emergencies, Parker means inclement weather or any other interruption of service to their in-home clients.

"We send out these shelf stable meals," said Parker. "The seniors can keep them in their cupboards in case of any such interruptions. That way, we do not have to worry about them going without food during a snowstorm when no one can get to them."

The Shelf Stable meals started with the SeniorAge Area Agency On Aging central office in Springfield, according to Parker.

"We have always done something similar, but usually we would send out an extra frozen meal ahead of a forecasted storm," said Parker. "This seemed to fit the situation better."

Parker said each meal has enough for two servings of a vegetable, fruit, protein, a packet of oatmeal, and each comes with a sleeve of crackers, a protein snack bar and other items.

"We had a volunteer from Season’s Hospice as well as myself and my staff pack the boxes," said Parker. "It was kind of fun to pack them. There were four different boxes. We labeled them with yellow, green, red and blue stickers to differentiate."

The Marshfield Senior Center has so far prepared about 350 boxes, or 700 meals, according to Parker.

"We pack enough food in each box for two meals, so if we send three boxes to a senior it should last for six meals, almost a week’s supply of food," said Parker. "For instance, a can of chili would be two servings and we would send a can of corn, a snack bar, some applesauce and crackers in the box to make enough for two meals, so if we have made 350 boxes, we have made 700 meals — at a minimum. Some actually have 2.5 or 3 servings.”

Parker added, "This is the first year we have prepared them. Last year, Ozarks Food Harvest prepared our shelf stable meals, and previous to that we sent out frozen meals."

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