Did you see these kids' faces?

On Tuesday, I shared with you how our coronavirus crisis outreaches have already provided over 150,000 meals to hurting folks across the country, including kids in beleaguered South Dallas like these precious children. 

I wanted to make sure you saw their faces. This is why Mercy Chefs exists -- to "feed body and soul" and use meals and nutritious food as a means for bringing hope to hurting people, and put smiles on the faces of kids who are caught up in world events beyond their understanding.

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I'm stunned.

As you know, the entire Mercy Chefs team has been running with all our engines "wide open." Today, we finally paused long enough to total up the number of meals your faithful support has reached during this time.

I've been doing this a long time, but I was stunned when I saw the totals...

In the past 40 days, your support of Mercy Chefs has helped this ministry to distribute an amazing 199,095 meals! Here's the breakdown:

  • 40,185 meals during our Chattanooga tornado response
  • 75,000 meals from our Virginia community kitchen across a 100+ mile radius encompassing at least ten cities
  • 83,910 through our 18 coronavirus crisis response distribution locations across the country
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Troubling news from tornado devastation

There is now great concern that parts of one of the hardest hit neighborhoods in Chattanooga may have to be bulldozed and condemned. It's heartbreaking. The devastation from the EF-4 tornado was that immense. For nearly two weeks now, our team has been serving in and around that community, providing hot meals to victims and volunteers. When these families couldn't return to their homes, many were moved to nearby hotels. They were so grateful for Mercy Chefs meals that they actually requested that we keep providing meals for their families. So we did.

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Church destroyed but piano somehow survived...

Thursday A.M.

In the midst of incredible need in tornado-ravaged Chattanooga, we're also experiencing God's faithfulness in many ways. See below for a heartwarming story from a church that was severely damaged in one of the hardest hit areas. And go here to help Mercy Chefs continue to meet this critical need. --Gary

The need in Chattanooga in response to the massive EF-4 tornado continues to push our team to our limits.

As I shared with you, on Monday we started feeding homeless families who have been temporarily relocated to seven hotels in the region. They are often packed five or six to a room, and getting these Mercy Chefs meals is a highlight of their day.

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Families left homeless by tornado NEED HELP

Monday P.M.

The demand for disaster meals in Chattanooga has only increased. In fact, we just received a new request for Mercy Chefs to help families left homeless by the tornado in a new way. Go here to make your tax-deductible gift to help tornado victims today, and see below for my full report. --Gary

Every day the need seems to grow along with the opportunities to serve the tornado victims in Chattanooga.

For example, so many homes in East Chattanooga have been destroyed that many families are now being put up in hotels in the area. Because we were providing many of them high-quality meals every day, the families in the hotels started specifically requesting Mercy Chefs meals!

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Tornado response: I need help THIS WEEKEND

Saturday Morning from East Chattanooga

We've served over 10,000 meals already here and the need is still great. We just added more resources and will exceed 4,000 meals today alone. I need help THIS WEEKEND. Go here to make your tax-deductible gift to help tornado victims, and see below for the latest updates on this shocking storm. --Gary

I don't know where to begin. The tornado that ripped apart East Chattanooga was a MONSTER
-- 3/4 of a mile wide and just upgraded to an EF-4 based on the damage assessments. This one-minute video our team took while in the neighborhood delivering meals will take your breath away.

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Shocking One-Minute Video Of Chattanooga Tornado Destruction

The tornado that ripped apart East Chattanooga was a MONSTER -- 3/4 of a mile wide and just upgraded to an EF-4 based on the damage assessments. This one-minute video our team took while in the neighborhood delivering meals will take your breath away. We still need your help! Go here to sponsor meals for tornado victims and volunteers:

Chattanooga Tornado Updated to EF-4

We were not surprised to hear today that the tornado that hit Chattanooga earlier this week has been upgraded to an EF-4 tornado. When we arrived in Chattanooga, we were initially shocked by such widespread devastation. Power isn't expected to return to this area until next week, but between now and then residents are faced with many unknowns. Today during our very emotional meal deliveries we saw miles and miles of devastation as we heard chainsaws whirring in the distance and birds chirping all around. Daily, we're serving as many meals as possible to those affected by this tragedy, meeting them right where they are, during these difficult times. We want you to know that your prayers sustain us during emotionally draining days like today, and we are so thankful for your continued support as we keep #feedingbodyandsoul.

Posted by Mercy Chefs on Friday, April 17, 2020

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Tornado update: Demand for meals just DOUBLED

Thursday Afternoon from East Chattanooga

We rushed a second team here and they have already DOUBLED our meal distribution. The tornado that ripped through Chattanooga was devastating. Please go here to help and see below for the latest. --Gary

The damage we are seeing and the stories we are hearing take your breath away.

First off, there was almost no warning. One man said they had about 30 seconds from when the power went out to when the tornado hit. The family was all climbing into the bathtub when they saw the roof getting blown off their house.

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Entire neighborhoods DESTROYED; much worse than news reports

Wednesday P.M. from East Chattanooga

We started serving meals to tornado victims and volunteers today at lunch and we're already exceeding our planned capacity. The need here is great and I must expand our efforts. Please see below. --Gary

The situation here in East Chattanooga is MUCH WORSE than anything you may have seen on the national news...


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Tornado death toll rises: "there was no warning"

The reality of the size and scope of the tornado that went through Chattanooga on Easter Sunday is just now starting to come into focus. Based on the wreckage it left behind, it is now clear that this EF-3 tornado was a massive 1,500 yards wide (8/10 of a mile) and left a path at least nine miles long. Local officials are calling the damage "unbelievable" and the entire community is still in shock as the death toll in this area has risen to ten.

One woman who had lived through hurricanes in Florida told Knox News, "I've never gone through this before in my life. There was no warning." 

Our Mercy Chefs team is arriving throughout the day. Chefs are coming in from Washington, D.C. and Texas. We have a kitchen crew coming from Alabama. The mobile kitchen just arrived (pictured). We are setting up our site at a local church that reached out to us based on our work in Nashville earlier this year. Our location is just a few miles from the hardest hit area of East Chattanooga called East Brainerd. The governor and his wife toured the area today.

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