6,000 more meals needed

We need a FINANCIAL MIRACLE.

A few hours ago, yet another church contacted me -- this time asking for 6,000 meals over the weekend. That's IN ADDITION to the 15,000 meals we already had slated.

The church is in Springfield, near Tyndall Air Force Base that was leveled by the hurricane and due north of devastated Mexico Beach. Their volunteers have been trying to keep up but are exhausted. And they are out of resources.  Also, more and more people are coming every day for a hot meal. It seems there is no end. Here's the problem...

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Three new requests for help

Today, in addition to our team providing about 6,000 meals distributed through multiple locations here in the Panama City area, I spent much of my day meeting with local leaders here who are asking us to do more.

+ + More requests for help...

For example, I met with three local pastors who are doing everything they can to meet the urgent needs in their communities -- and coming up short. They need assistance, especially with providing hot meals.

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Hurricane Michael Video Update

Please watch Gary LeBlanc's report on conditions on Florida's Panhandle, and go here to make your tax-deductible gift to support Mercy Chefs!

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The kids break my heart

From: Panama City Beach

The kids here break my heart. It feels as if we are feeding more and more children. So many are coming that we began creating special "kids meals" for the children in an effort to brighten their day.

When I look into the eyes of the young children, it hurts to see their lost little faces still confused by what's just happened. Officials here say the schools could be closed another several weeks. Some of the school buildings will simply have to be bulldozed. Meanwhile, we are serving a stream of kids in these communities.

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Shocking TRUTH of FL disaster

It's Day 14 of our deployment and conditions are not getting any better.

In fact, at a time when many of our deployments are scaling down, Mercy Chefs has just been asked to RAMP UP our outreach and expand the number of meals we are serving. Earlier today, we received two such requests that will increase our daily meal distribution by over 1,300 meals.

+ + Shocking truth of this Florida disaster

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Our Surprise Opportunity

On Thursday, as our team left one of our meal-distribution sites, we went a different route to get back to where we were staying. On our drive, we saw a sign that read: "Elderly care facility. We need power." The building was hidden behind the trees, which made it difficult to see. But we stopped to find out how we could help.

At that point, the facility had been without power for a week — since Hurricane Michael hit. We immediately wondered how they were providing resident with meals. There are 250 elderly men and women living at this facility. Thankfully, the buildings themselves weren't damaged by the storm, but there were minimal staff on site because many lived in areas under evacuation orders. The staff members who did stay were doing their best to care for the residents despite a lack of power.

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"We have NO FOOD"

In all my years of providing meals to disaster victims, I have never seen a situation in which Mercy Chefs was more needed than right now...

People here and up into Georgia are saying,"We have no food. No water. No power. No phone service." And with each passing hour the desperation grows. Many are losing hope altogether. Some are resorting to looting just to survive. But without power, or food, or water or even a way to call for help, sadly looting has become their last resort.

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Hurricane Michael: Horrific

The devastation is horrendous. It's hard to find something, anything that wasn't impacted by this deadly Category 4 storm. Almost everything here has been wiped out. Infrastructure will need to be rebuilt. We're hearing it will take at least a week before power is restored. Along one major highway, all the utility poles are down. We've provided meals for electrical workers who are working all day and well into the night to restore electricity.

It's not just the beachfront homes that have been affected; inland areas have been hit hard by Michael, too. Some people whose homes were completely destroyed weren't even in an evacuation zone. We're still looking for ways to get meals into the Mexico Beach area, where search-and-rescue teams are still working to find survivors and victims. We've heard that only about 20 percent of the city's residents evacuated. Most just didn't have time to leave. A large number of people are still missing. The worst may not be over for this battered and broken community, as the casualty numbers continue to go up.

+ + Mercy Chefs will soon be able to provide 18,000 daily meals!

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Catastrophic

Hurricane Florence is the kind of storm that people need to pay attention to. The words being used to describe it include: Catastrophic. Total destruction. Life threatening. Everyone within the projected path of Florence needs to take this hurricane VERY seriously.

In just 36 hours, its wind speeds doubled from 70 to 140 miles per hour. Forecasters are predicting the storm's intensity to increase even more before likely making landfall along the North Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday. It's expected to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. But by the time Florence comes ashore, it could be even worse than that Category 5 storm. Attached is a satellite image of what the hurricane might look like when it makes landfall.

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"An imminent disaster"

Hurricane Florence intensified overnight and this morning, so it's now a dangerous "Category 4" storm. Currently located off the East Coast of the United States, this life-threatening weather system is expected to intensify even more, as it approaches warmer water, and make landfall later this week. A weather forecaster I know and trust, Alan Lammey, recently posted this on his Facebook page:

"If you live in the South Carolina/North Carolina/Virginia area, you should be preparing for an imminent disaster to the area. You should also be making serious plans to leave the area" (emphasis added).

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