BIG day in Florida

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.

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Our Two-Millionth Meal!

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:

 

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What Diana told me this weekend

This morning starts our busiest and most important week here in Panama City.

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 story

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People "still living in tents"

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"

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Local Media Coverage In Panama City

Local media is covering Mercy Chefs' redeployment to Panama City. Click here or on the image to watch.

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One Alabama Family's Heart-Wrenching Search

As anticipated, we are seeing the need continue to grow here in Alabama as the reality of what just struck slowly settles in and more and more people join in the recovery effort. 

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...

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Video From AL Ground Zero

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.

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Report From Alabama (3/5)

Gary LeBlanc filed this report from Lee County, Alabama:

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AL update: Monster storm worst since 2013

Mercy Chefs ise officially deploying here in Lee County, Alabama -- the very epicenter of the tornado strikes. Our Mercy Chefs mobile kitchen has arrived here in Lee County, along with our chefs and team. That means we will be serving meals TOMORROW -- STARTING WITH BREAKFAST!

Our team will be serving at the heart of the worst tornado damage, providing breakfast and lunch to first responders and volunteer cleanup teams. With schools out due to the storm, we expect to also be providing meals to many kids. As emergency workers and those in the community hear about Mercy Chefs, we expect the demand will grow throughout the week and into the weekend.

+ + "Monster" tornado worst since 2013

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Tornadoes Devastate Alabama!

Update from Panama City (headed now to Alabama)

Our team arrived yesterday in Panama City for our month-long redeployment and was greeted by sirens and alerts for a tornado warning. As you know, before the day was over, massive tornadoes had ripped through Alabama and Georgia, leaving at least 23 dead and thousands devastated.

+ + Headed to Alabama now!

Calls immediately came for Mercy Chefs to help in Alabama. This morning, I am headed to the epicenter of the tornado strikes and will arrive midday to assess how and where Mercy Chefs can best assist. A Mercy Chefs mobile kitchen is already on the way.

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