Ohio update

All this week, our Mercy Chefs team has had the privilege of helping to meet the needs of those helping in the aftermath of the tornadoes that hit the Dayton region. As we noted, some of the neighborhoods were unrecognizable as the destruction from tornadoes as strong as EF-4 ripped through communities.

This is precisely why Mercy Chefs exists -- to help meet a critical need during times of disaster and provide hot meals that feed "body and soul." 

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Unrecognizable


Our team in the Dayton, Ohio area is hard at work again today providing hot meals to the volunteer teams that have come here to help residents with the cleanup. As we go out into the communities, we come face-to-face with the need. Yesterday, one of our volunteer chefs saw a woman sitting on what remained of her front porch. She was weeping -- clearly still disoriented by what had happened to her home and her neighborhood which was probably now almost unrecognizable to her.

"Could we get you something hot to eat?" our chef asked.

She nodded. Perhaps that's all she could muster.

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What I saw today

Today, Mercy Chefs is continuing to provide hot meals for the many volunteers who have come to the Dayton area to help with the recovery after a "swarm" of tornadoes hit this region. Lunch today was just amazing as we have been delivering meals
out into the neighborhoods where volunteers are busy helping those who are still trying to get their bearings straight in the aftermath of the storm.

I wish you could have seen what I saw today in the grateful faces of those we are helping -- especially when we bring a chef-prepared, hot meal to them and not just emergency "rations"! For example, here is what was on the Mercy Chefs menu today:

Root beer injected pork with a pineapple herb glaze, sweet potato and white potato mash, fresh green beans with onions and bacon, fresh roll, and watermelon.

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Hearts heavy as we serve

Our hearts are heavy as we grieve for the families impacted by the tragic shooting in Virginia Beach, just a few miles from our Mercy Chefs home office. Mercy Chefs will do whatever we can to be part of the healing in our local community as we continue to answer the calls for help from across the country.

Today here in Beavercreek,
our team recently finished serving our first meal -- lunch to volunteers who are helping with the extensive cleanup effort. No matter how many times I see the devastation left behind by these massive storms, it is always sobering. Houses leveled. Trees uprooted and mangled. Buildings destroyed. Whole neighborhoods devastated.

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Deploying NOW to OH tornadoes!

As I write, Ann and I and our Mercy Chefs team recently arrived in Dayton, Ohio -- one of the epicenters of the "swarm" of hundreds of tornadoes that have ravaged Ohio and the Midwest in recent weeks.

Earlier this week, a massive EF-4 tornado with wind speeds of up to 170mph ripped through Dayton and nearby Beavercreek, leaving a trail of destruction in its path. In Beavercreek alone, an estimated 1,000 homes and buildings have sustained damage, with hundreds having enough damage to possibly be uninhabitable or even a total loss.

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Inside Look At "Beacon Of Hope" (Video)

I just filed this report on progress on the transition of the school in Panama City into our "Beacon Of Hope" center, along with updates on the recent tornadoes and flooding that have hit the Midwest.

We need your help to get this vision launched! Go here to donate:

(NOTE: IF THE VIDEO DOES NOT PLAY, GO HERE.)

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Critical week

This is a CRITICAL week.

My team is rushing to get our Florida relief efforts focusing on thousands of children still homeless as a result of Hurricane Michael officially launched. Our plans now are to formally open our "Beacon Of Hope" center in the shuttered school that Panama City officials are allowing us to use by next Thursday (June 6).

That puts an enormous amount of pressure on this week to get the kitchen ready while we also retrofit the classrooms into bunkhouse rooms that can house up to 80 volunteers. Here's why the bunkhouse rooms are so critical...

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"Which one would you give back?"

"Which one would you give back?"

That's the question I felt the Lord ask me as I pondered all that Mercy Chefs is engaged in right now.

As you know, our team is less than one week from being on the ground in Panama City and just two weeks until we serve our first meals there. But there's so much more under way right now -- a bigger picture of what the Lord is doing to place this ministry at the very epicenter of urgent needs.

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Special Texas Announcement

Today, I'm in Wimberley, Texas, to formally announce that Mercy Chefs is establishing a disaster relief base of operations in Wimberley to serve Texas and surrounding regions. 

We will be joined by the Wimberley Chamber Of Commerce and the leadership of the town for a ribbon cutting and celebratory event commemorating Mercy Chefs setting up a base of operations in Texas. I will also be welcoming Chef Jay Bachman of Wimberley on board as a Managing Chef and the primary lead for Mercy Chefs' disaster response efforts in the region. We first met Jay during the Wimberley floods, and he has volunteered with us for many disasters since. Through Jay’s involvement as a volunteer, he is already very familiar with the unique DNA and culture of Mercy Chefs. The city of Wimberley is a very special place for Mercy Chefs. The town has embraced Mercy Chefs, and we are honored to have Jay join our team.

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My situation...

Here's my situation...

We are less than two weeks away from having our first Mercy Chefs team on the ground in Panama City to get started on the "retrofit" of the school we have been allocated. Our team will arrive on May 20th to perform work on the kitchen and convert  classrooms into bunkhouses.

In addition to the construction costs, we need to outfit the facilities for 80 beds -- mattresses, sheets, etc. The bunkhouse rooms are key because there is an urgent need for housing for workers and volunteers who will be coming this summer -- including counselors and youth development specialists who can help these kids through the debilitating trauma many are experiencing.

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