CA, FL, BAH, and Holiday updates

I just returned home this week from California and our highly successful wildfire response. The feedback we are receiving from local officials, the Salvation Army and others is almost overwhelming. When Mercy Chefs came into one of the main shelters responding to the Kincade Fire, the entire atmosphere changed. And now Officials want Mercy Chefs more involved in any future disaster response.

We've staged one of our mobile kitchens in California for the remainder of the fire season. Also, I met with state disaster leaders at the shelter we served and they want to further partner with Mercy Chefs in the future.

Why the favor? I believe it's God's blessing on this ministry -- along with our determination to feed "body and soul" with the best possible food served with love and care. For example, one evening for dinner last week we served barbecue chicken, macaroni and cheese, carrots with herbs, a fresh salad with balsamic vinaigrette,  and a piece of fresh apple crisp for dessert.

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CA fire update: good news!

Yesterday was an amazing day of outreach to the families displaced by the Kincade Fire here north of San Francisco. A Red Cross worker told one of our chefs, "With your meal, the food is love. Everyone in this room felt the love that you put into this meal for us and for everyone in the shelter." 

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Displaced families need our help!

https://www.mercychefs.info/ca_wildfire_update_serving_meals_tonightMercy Chefs is in FULL MEAL PRODUCTION today from our "Mercy One" mobile kitchen here in Marin County. Working with our partners at Bethel Global Relief and local church volunteers, we'll be serving about 1,700 meals today -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- primarily to families who have been displaced by the wildfires and are now in local shelters.

Depending on what happens with the winds today, that number could increase dramatically by tomorrow. Emergency officials here are bracing for the winds to increase to up to 65 MPH which would cause the fires to spread rapidly and force more people out of their homes and into the shelters. Also a "cold blue" for cold was issued last night and already the shelter numbers are increasing.

 

 

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CA wildfire update: Serving meals TONIGHT!

It's hard to describe to you the feeling I have driving through these California communities that are being hit with wildfires again.

This is the fourth consecutive year that Mercy Chefs has responded to the wildfire crisis here. The air is thick with the smell of smoke from the Kincade Fire. Just driving in this region causes one's eyes to burn and throat to hurt. Air quality is very bad and the situation is made worse by the fact that huge sections of the state are without power or facing power outages in the coming days. Hundreds of thousands are under evacuation orders. People are sleeping in their cars. On top of all this, it was unseasonably cold last night.

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CA Wildfires reach "unprecedented" levels

As we have been wrapping up our Dallas deployment, I have been closely monitoring the rapidly developing crisis in California where the wildfires are reaching what the governor is calling "historic" and "unprecedented" levels.

Winds over the weekend have been gusting to hurricane-force levels in some places and over 100,000 have already been evacuated. Relief agencies are now estimating that as many as 300 shelters and feeding sites may be opened.

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Destruction, debris... and a miracle

Tornado damage is so extreme. The EF-3 that blew through Dallas earlier this week left a very significant amount of destruction and debris in its path. Given the level of damage, it is truly a miracle that there was no loss of life.

For many families in the path of the storm, it will be weeks or months before life begins to return to normal. And that's where Mercy Chefs steps in.

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UPDATE on Dallas (photos)

UPDATE: We just served our first meals for lunch in Dallas in response to the EF-3 tornado and also will be serving dinner THIS EVENING. And now that our team is on the ground, it is clear that the damage from the storm was more extensive than the national news has reported. First, the tornado -- with winds up to 140MPH -- hit a heavily populated area of North Dallas as evidenced from this night photo taken by the Dallas Police Department Helicopter Unit that shows the extensive power outages along the path of the storm.

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Deploying to Dallas TODAY!

I'm sure you heard about the massive tornado that just struck the Dallas area...

An EF-3 tornado with winds up to 140MPH ripped through North Dallas communities, leaving a trail of wreckage in its path. Schools were closed and thousands left without power. One witness said it "looks like bombs went off." 

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Tough decisions...

We are facing some tough decisions.

The devastation in the Bahamas -- and specifically on Abaco -- was so immense that the work of rebuilding is literally just beginning.

In the past week, Mercy Chefs' truck began moving thousands of pounds of supplies across the island. The truck is a godsend. There is an urgent need for reliable transportation, especially of the heavy-duty variety.

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"Disaster of the century"

Thank you so much for your partnership with Mercy Chefs during what has been one of the most challenging and rewarding seasons in our history. Your faithfulness has equipped our team to respond to disaster and expand to meet the growing need in more ways than ever already this year.

The latest issue of SURGE -- Mercy Chefs' e-newsletter for our friends and partners -- covers some of the highlights from recent months, including our response to what is being called the disaster of the century.

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