Our team filed this video report on conditions on the Florida Panhandle:
CBS News also recently reported on the "sickening" conditions:Read more
The demand for meals has continued to grow all week as word has spread across this region. Yesterday, I shared Tammy's story (see below), of how she was so grateful that she went from a recipient of our meals to a volunteer distributor! She helped us reach dozens more families -- and stories like this are happening more and more as the community finds us through word-of-mouth or local media coverage.
Today, we're expecting long lines again and will serve another 3,000-4,000 meals. The demand has been more than double our initial projections. I'm turning to friends like you. Please go here to make a tax-deductible gift to help Mercy Chefs meet the needs this weekend and continue other vital efforts.Read more
We are still seeing LONG LINES of folks coming for meals. And the stories we are hearing are both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Please see below for Tammy's story, and go here to help us meet these needs and provide more than 4,000 hot meals in Florida today! --Gary
Tammy, pictured here, is not alone. Many here are still homeless or displaced in "tent cities" or FEMA trailer parks. It's not uncommon to see an entire neighborhood of boarded-up homes -- the streets empty. Or houses half-draped in tarps as folks try to salvage a living space.Read more
Good morning! Today is a big day here in Panama City. Yesterday, we exceeded 4,300 meals served and I fully expect we will eclipse that number today. As the word spreads, more and more needs are becoming apparent here. Folks remember Mercy Chefs and are so thankful that we have returned.
Here's my practical reality. When we planned this month-long effort, we expected the demand for meals would likely peak at about 2,000 meals per day. We have more than DOUBLED that estimate and the counts continue to grow. That means we need DOUBLE the support from folks like you.Read more
This week during our re-deployment on the Florida Panhandle, Mercy Chefs served our two-millionth meal! Watch as Founder Gary LeBlanc serves meal number 2,000,000 live to a family who lost everything:
We'll serve about 3,500 meals each and every day as we take over a program that is providing hot meals to hundreds of families while expanding our outreach to potentially thousands of needy schoolchildren. This is in addition to providing hot meals for volunteers who are here to help with the cleanup.
And the cleanup job is immense! Massive piles of debris... Homes still covered in tarps... Yards that have never been cleared from the storm.
+ + Diana's storyRead more
This is a huge weekend here in Panama City. TODAY we are adding 800 meals, in addition to other distributions. By Monday, Mercy Chefs will be at 2,000+ meals per day as we take over a program that is providing hot meals to hundreds of families while expanding our outreach to potentially thousands of needy schoolchildren -- in addition to our other outreaches here.
+ + Shocking conditions; people "still living in tents"Read more
Local media is covering Mercy Chefs' redeployment to Panama City. Click here or on the image to watch.
Today, we served a full breakfast and lunch to emergency workers and volunteers. This weekend is critical. Also, the folks here are talking about holding a memorial service next week for the family that lost seven members. Their church is too small, so the venue where Mercy Chefs is based will likely host the reception following the service and, yes, we will be there to provide the meals should this come to pass.
+ + A family's heart-wrenching search through the rubble...Read more
This short video was posted by a volunteer from a local church in Lee County showing the destruction of what used to be a wooded area.
In many areas, the destruction is complete. The next few days are critical in so many ways. Please prayerfully consider how you can help Mercy Chefs provide relief.