COVID update: demand just DOUBLED; need help

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.

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Why we're bringing in a second crew (COVID response)

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.

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COVID update -- meals UP 50%

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.

 

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How we're meeting the COVID-19 challenge

I want to share with you more details regarding how Mercy Chefs is responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

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.

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Two challenges this week...

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.

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"Most difficult time I have ever seen"

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.

 

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Coronavirus crisis: need help

These past few days have been quite a rush as we mobilize our resources in response to the coronavirus crisis.

In Panama City, we're still serving meals daily to needy children as the uncertainty of this crisis settles in on a community that is still recovering from a hurricane that hit a year and a half ago. I recently saw a report of just school teacher and employees who still needed help with repairs on their homes. It broke my heart. And now, more uncertainty.

 

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Crisis Response moving to FULL CAPACITY

I'm writing to you from Panama City, Florida, where our Mercy Chefs team is feeding schoolchildren here who are now out of school at least through the end of this month due to the coronavirus shutdown.

Yesterday, the water heater at our facility broke. The school system here is helping us bring one over from a different location, but there will be some expense (labor costs, etc.) to make it operational. We'll get through this so our team can stay focused on the need here which could rapidly increase due to the coronavirus crisis. One week of Spring Break has already turned into two weeks out of school, with no end in sight at this point. We will be here to help.

+ + Crisis pushing us to FULL CAPACITY

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Coronavirus EMERGENCY response

I'm sending you this ALERT on the national coronavirus crisis taking place right now in our nation.

The President just declared a NATIONAL EMERGENCY under the provisions of the Stafford Disaster Relief And Emergency Assistance Act, which allows the federal government to mobilize resources to state and local authorities.

I will not even begin to forecast what may happen with the virus, but one thing is for certain: the now inevitable shut down of so much of our society has assured that THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS HAS PRECIPITATED A SERIES OF CRISES that are now demanding our immediate attention.

Never in the history of Mercy Chefs have I received so many requests for help in one day. I have been on the phone almost NON STOP with community leaders from across the country who are bracing for the need to serve THOUSANDS if not TENS OF THOUSANDS of meals starting as soon as next week.

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Nashville update

Mercy Chefs is back in Nashville today, serving both lunch and dinner in one of the most underserved areas of this entire region that was hit by the massive tornadoes earlier this month.

We received the request from our local contacts on Tuesday, so we quickly mobilized a team so that meal service could start at lunch today.
This is precisely why we kept one of our mobile kitchens in Nashville -- so that we could respond on short notice when called upon.

Our Mercy Chefs team will be here through the weekend, serving meals and meeting practical needs during a very challenging time. Since we depend on the generosity of friends like you every time we deploy, we could use your help today and through the weekend. Would you consider making a special tax-deductible contribution to help Mercy Chefs provide hot meals while we continue other efforts? Go here:

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