Update: Dorian now CAT 4 projected

The projections for Dorian are worsening by the hour. The storm has already been upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane and is now expected to begin impacting the Florida east coast over the Labor Day weekend before making landfall as a Category 4. But it gets worse.

The models currently call for the storm to slow down significantly as it approaches the Florida coast. If that happens, we could see epic flooding as Florida gets bombarded with massive amounts of rain, combined with storm surge, combined with unusually high tides due to the new moon "king tide." Either the flooding or the wind damage could be catastrophic. If Florida is hit by both, Dorian could be truly devastating.

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Hurricane Dorian update

After a near miss with Puerto Rico, Hurricane Dorian is now strengthening over the Caribbean with nearly all the projected paths taking this storm over the southeast United States coast as a major hurricane.

Dorian is now officially forecasted to make landfall as a Category 4 storm and could be the largest hurricane to hit central Florida in decades. There are many factors coming into play indicating the potential for rapid intensification, including unusually warm waters, high oceanic heat content values, and very low wind shear. On top of all this, an exceptionally high "king tide" from a new moon this weekend will cause the base water level on the Florida coast to be considerably higher than normal just as the storm hits.

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One of the most amazing stories I've seen

I've been sharing with you about our current need to finish the rebuild of Mercy Chefs' kitchen in Haiti that was destroyed by fire this spring.

It's difficult for me to communicate just how AMAZING this work has been for nearly a decade. In all my time of ministry, I've never seen anything like it, especially considering that we are talking about Haiti which is one of the most difficult countries in the world to accomplish anything!

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Haiti fire critical deadline

I trust you saw my email from earlier this week (below) as we gear up to FINISH our kitchen in Haiti that was destroyed by fire this Spring.

Thanks to friends like you, we are very close to finishing Phase One and having the structure completed. But now, we are facing a time crunch and a critical deadline. Phase One will be completed in a few weeks and the kitchen will sit EMPTY until we can purchase and install the kitchen equipment.

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Haiti fire update

As I'm sure you recall, this spring Mercy Chefs' kitchen in Haiti was destroyed by a fire. The kitchen was a total loss. 
It tore at my heart to hear that the children from the orphanage actually ran in the direction of the fire to offer their help because this was their kitchen! (Of course, they were protected from the fire.) 

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In just two weeks...

As I write, our Mercy Chefs team on the Florida Panhandle is transitioning to the next major phase of our redeployment to help this community recover from the devastating Category Five hurricane last fall.

Beginning in just two weeks, our team will move from our summer "Beacon Of Hope" efforts to a special outreach to provide meals and support to the most at-risk kids in this community. As I've noted, an estimated 5,000 children were suddenly left homeless as a result of Hurricane Michael. Many are still without a permanent place to sleep. As these kids return to school, we've been asked to partner with the school district to ensure these kids who represent the most vulnerable in this community have reliable, hot, nutritious meals.
We are also working on educational programs while we continue to support work team still assisting with reconstruction efforts.

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This story puzzled me, and broke my heart

I was puzzled.... Why did this young boy want a ladder on the outside of his house? --Gary

As you know, last week in Panama City, Mercy Chefs was privileged to serve 4,600 people at a special Back-To-School event for which we had only planned to serve 3,000. But God added the increase to your generosity and we were able to feed every single person, with some left over!

Each time I am in Panama City, I hear story after story of how Hurricane Michael has left a profound impact on this community and the psyche of the people here. The stories that pull at my heart the most come from the children, many of whom are homeless due to the storm and are still struggling with the reality of what happened.  

For example, a young boy came to our "Beacon Of Hope" center with his family for a meal. Since our staff also provides activities for the children, this boy went over to our coloring station where I was standing. First he drew a house. Then, he added a ladder on the outside of the house. I was puzzled, so I asked him why he added the ladder. The boy's reply broke my heart:

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We had food for 3,000, but 4,600 showed up...

We had food for 3,000 people. Over 4,600 showed up. I'm still amazed at what happened next. See below. --Gary

On Thursday, in partnership with the Panama City area school district, Mercy Chefs helped host a special Back-To-School event. We were told to expect 3,000 people. So we prepared our budget and our resources and our staffing to serve 3,000.

But the people kept coming. And coming. And coming.

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3,000 meals tomorrow!

We've been asked to provide 3,000 meals for a Back-To-School event in Panama City tomorrow to help hurting kids get ready for the transition back to the classroom. This is one of the most important events we've taken on here. See below. --Gary

God keeps opening doors for Mercy Chefs to play an even more significant role in the healing and recovery that is taking place on the Florida Panhandle.

As you know, Hurricane Michael devastated this region. Forty percent of the buildings were still uninhabitable months after the storm hit, and an estimated 5,000 children were left without a permanent place to call home. We've been here all summer, primarily to help bridge the gap for these children, many of whom simply have no "dinner table" to go home to.

As the Lord continues to expand this ministry's impact here, I want to invite you to partner with Mercy Chefs in something very exciting that is happening tomorrow.

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School destroyed by flood

When the Arkansas River overflowed its banks in May, the town of Moffett, Oklahoma, was inundated. The river rose to an all-time high of 40 feet and flooded the town in water for days. Just about the entire town was under water, including the Moffett School, which was hit with as much as six feet of floodwaters.

Nearly everything inside the school building was destroyed. One teacher said that they could only salvage a few boxes of materials from decades of teaching children at the school.

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