What your generosity is doing THIS WEEK

I want to let you know what the generosity of friends like you is doing THIS WEEK to help hurting families across the nation.

Amazingly, Mercy Chefs has now provided over 600,000 meals during our coronavirus response -- clearly the largest outreach in our history. Some time this month, we will serve the 3 millionth meal since our founding!

Of course, for us it is always about the people we are helping  and right now the need is unprecedented. The heightened tensions we have seen in our nation over the past few weeks have only increased the urgent need for practical relief a need created in large part by 40 million lost jobs since the start of this crisis. A very recent U.S. Census survey revealed that a shocking 12 million households with children report not having enough food to eat.
Clearly, this current crisis will likely continue for weeks or even months.

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Need OVERWHELMING. 2,000 cars lining up!

We are getting overwhelmed by the need.

Today, food boxes will be distributed through our pilot "Farmers to Families" program in Oklahoma to 50 locations -- nearly double from just last week. At our distribution center in Claremore, so many people are coming directly to Mercy Chefs for food that the city has jumped in and is helping us with space, volunteers, and traffic flow. Yes, TRAFFIC FLOW! I just got off the phone and there were already 2,000 cars lined up and we were still an hour away from the time for our distribution. The police are actually redirecting traffic. Please understand -- Claremore is a small town, under 20,000 people. But this is just how great the need is in rural areas.

And the people on the receiving end of your generosity are seriously in need. These families aren't coming to us for extra groceries. What we are providing may be all they have in their pantries. The level of need is heartbreaking.

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My decision

I face a major decision.

We just launched our third unique coronavirus crisis outreach -- our "Farmers to Families" food box pilot program in Oklahoma. In our first week, this new outreach has already provided food for more than 15,000 people in hard-to-reach areas.

At the same time, this weekend we'll exceed 400,000 meals total 
served through our meal box and community kitchen meal programs that continue to minister to tens of thousands every week. We have never reached so many at-risk kids, struggling families and elderly shut-ins in our history.

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Huge turnaround

I hope you saw my update yesterday regarding a huge turnaround Mercy Chefs is taking part in -- helping farmers turn food that was going to be wasted into meals for hurting people who are struggling during the coronavirus crisis.

Today, our pilot "Farmers to Families" program in Oklahoma will deliver enough food for about 6,000 meals for hurting families. I want to expand this program to other states in the next two weeks, but I need help today to move forward! Please take a moment right now to partner with Mercy Chefs to help turn food that was going to be wasted into life-supporting meals for hurting folks during this crisis

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One of the biggest food tragedies I've ever seen

One of the unexpected nightmares of the coronavirus crisis has been the stories of food going to waste.

With supply chains being disrupted, farmers across the country are facing the impossible decision of plowing their crops back into the ground despite the fact that millions of hard-hit Americans are waiting in long lines for food. This amounts to a tragic waste of food when so many are struggling.

Thankfully, the U.S. government recently initiated a "Farmers to Families Food Box" program to turn the food that would have been wasted into meals for hurting families. One of the key "missing links" in the process is getting the boxed-up food from the farmers and distributors into the hands of those in need in the hardest-hit communities.

Enter Mercy Chefs.

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Big news

I have some extremely important news to share with you.

Through our ongoing meal box distribution program that has reached 18 locations and has provided over a quarter million meals, we recently became aware of an opportunity that could more than double the number of our distribution locations by the end of this month.

I can't share all the details with you right now as we are waiting final confirmation on the plans, but I am expecting this one opportunity will significantly expand our coronavirus crisis outreach. And we will be reaching particularly hard-hit areas where unemployment is high and resources are scarce.

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More than I imagined...

I'm both in awe and humbled by what the Lord has done and continues to do.

On Monday, our Virginia community kitchen served its 100,000th meal since the beginning of this coronavirus crisis. 
Later today, we will reach a total of 300,000 Mercy Chefs meals -- including the meal box distribution and our response to the Chattanooga tornado -- since this crisis began. It makes me think of these words from Ephesians...

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us..." --Ephesians 3:20

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Another 3.2 million...

The numbers are still staggering, yet sadly we are getting used to it. Last week, another 3.2 million people filed for unemployment, bringing the total since the outset of this crisis to 33.5 million.

We have now reached levels of unemployment not seen since the Great Depression. Across the country, people are lining up in their cars for food. In some places, the cars start lining up before sunrise to make sure they get help before supplies run out.

Mercy Chefs has been providing thousands of meals nearly every day during this crisis. We are in our eighth week, and the need isn't letting up. This week, through our partners in South Dallas, we helped provide thousands of children and their families with food. We are seeing a similar story unfold at Mercy Chefs distribution sites across the country. In Tennessee and Florida and South Carolina and even on the island of Maui -- where Hawaii's unemployment rate topped 37% a few weeks ago -- your support is helping to feed thousands of folks every week.

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"A life saver"

I want to share a few of the "thank you" letters we received recently from elderly folks who have been shut in by the coronavirus crisis. Your support made this possible. See below.  --Gary

"They really are a life saver..."

Those words came from a dear woman living in a senior center who has been receiving Mercy Chefs meals during the coronavirus crisis. She continued...

"...and so nourishing. Being shut in... it has meant so much. In this awful crisis it is a wonderful thing to know there indeed are folks who care and go out of their normal routine to help others!" (emphasis in the original)

Another lady, who is 89, sent us a beautiful thank you card addressed to, "Wonderful People" which says:

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Special Giving Deadline

As I noted to you earlier today, some national leaders have designated today as a special "Giving Tuesday" to help non-profits that are going the "extra mile" in response to the coronavirus crisis. Mercy Chefs is one of the non-profits that has been asked to do even more during this crisis -- far beyond anything we budgeted for this Spring.

If you haven't done so already, we could use your help today as we start our EIGHTH CONSECUTIVE WEEK of coronavirus crisis outreaches. To make your gift directly to Mercy Chefs, go here -- and see below for more details.

God bless!

Gary LeBlanc

P.S. We will count every online gift through tomorrow toward this special Giving Tuesday response. If you prefer to send a check, please get it in the mail this week and we will count it as well. Go here for mailing instructions and to give:

Click here for more information from our previous update.

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