This is devastating, especially with all that is already taking place with the coronavirus crisis. Mercy Chefs is headed to Chattanooga, one of the hardest hit areas, and will be setting up our mobile kitchen and command post over the next 24 hours. My wife Ann and I are departing tonight and our chef team will arrive tomorrow. Our command post vehicle is leaving later tonight and the mobile kitchen that is based in Birmingham (AL) will be on the road in the morning.Read more
The nationwide coronavirus crisis is creating more need for Mercy Chefs in more places than we have ever seen.
Today, Mercy Chefs and our partners are providing meals to hundreds of families in the hard-hit military community of Hoke County, North Carolina -- just in time for Easter.
And yesterday, we made arrangements to add Dallas to the growing list of communities for which Mercy Chefs is providing meals during this crisis. As I write, we are now approaching a dozen communities who will be receiving 30,000-40,000 meals a week -- and my phone keeps ringing.
This Easter weekend we are providing hundreds of mostly military families in a hard-hit community in North Carolina with meals. For the volunteers on the ground, it feels very much like a miracle of God's provision as they had just ran out of supplies (see below for all the details).
This is such a critical time. Mercy Chefs is expanding into about a dozen communities. I expect we'll provide 30,000-40,000 meals over the next week alone. And my phone keeps ringing! We urgently need the help of every Mercy Chefs friend. Go here to make your best tax-deductible gift to help Mercy Chefs provide tens of thousands of meals during this crisis, and see below for more details.
Gary LeBlancRead more
With our Virginia team's efforts expanding by the day (we are now well over 15,000 meals a week), the Lord is opening doors to take our Mercy Chefs COVID-19 efforts to multiple communities across the country.
We've been working on this for a few weeks, but now that the plan is coming together, I want to share the details with you.
As I'm sure you know, the combination of the "stay home" orders and the deepening economic crisis is causing the need for relief meals to explode. Our Virginia team is creating meals for folks across more than a 100-mile spread, but there are so many other areas of critical need. Communities that rely on tourism and vacationers have been particularly hard hit. Some of these areas have 50%, 60% or more unemployment.Read more
This is already our third week of providing meals in response to the coronavirus crisis, and the demand shows no signs of letting up. This week, we went up another 50% and next week I'm expecting the demand will increase again.
So we're bringing in a second Mercy Chefs crew to help with the expected increased demand and to give us an extra layer of redundancy. Our two teams will be isolated from each other, working from different locations. The nature of this virus can cause things to change quickly, and I want to do everything we can to ensure we can continue providing this lifeline of hope in the form of thousands of meals to those in need.
And the need is increasing. Yesterday, Mercy Chefs was featured on a local TV station and almost immediately our inbox was flooded with messages from elderly shut-ins and folks with special needs children who are not being reached by the food bank. People are very nervous and in most locations the experts say the worst is yet to come. I need to reach these people.Read more
As expected, the demand for Mercy Chefs meals in response to the coronavirus crisis has increased this week. Every day this week, we're serving up to 3,000 meals -- up about 50 percent over last week. And the meals are reaching far and wide to some folks who otherwise may not have received help.
For example, our team heard about a 90-year-old woman who lives in a remote area that is beyond any delivery service. So our team started delivering meals directly to her. We're seeing these type of outreaches happening throughout the region, with some meals reaching hurting people 50 miles away or more.
As I'm sure you can imagine, providing meals during a crisis like this is a significant challenge. I noted to you a few days ago that we are preparing our meals in microwaveable containers so those receiving the meals can conveniently heat them up when they are ready to eat. This has created an additional cost. But that's just one aspect of what we're doing to protect our staff, our volunteers and those receiving our meals.Read more
As the nationwide shutdown of businesses and school increases, we are facing some challenges.
First, because of the special microwaveable containers (pictured here) we are using as we tailor our response to the special safety needs of this crisis, the cost of each meal is now about $3.50. That means we need to raise an additional $1,000 or more every day just to serve the same number of meals.
My more serious challenge is the scope of the need. Right now, if we had the resources to bring on another shift of workers, add some much-needed kitchen equipment and deploy one of our mobile kitchens, we could prepare as many as 7,500 meals a day -- about tripling our capacity.Read more
Our national coronavirus crisis seems to be worsening by the day. This week alone, we've prepared over 12,000 meals and the demand will continue for the foreseeable future.
I'm asking every Mercy Chefs friend to partner with us in a special way right now so we can continue to provide chef-prepared, nutritious meals to hurting families, needy children and elderly folks who have been shut in by this virus pandemic. Go here now to make your best possible tax-deductible gift to Mercy Chefs, and see below for more details.