It's Day 14 of our deployment and conditions are not getting any better.
In fact, at a time when many of our deployments are scaling down, Mercy Chefs has just been asked to RAMP UP our outreach and expand the number of meals we are serving. Earlier today, we received two such requests that will increase our daily meal distribution by over 1,300 meals.
+ + Shocking truth of this Florida disasterRead more
On Thursday, as our team left one of our meal-distribution sites, we went a different route to get back to where we were staying. On our drive, we saw a sign that read: "Elderly care facility. We need power." The building was hidden behind the trees, which made it difficult to see. But we stopped to find out how we could help.
At that point, the facility had been without power for a week — since Hurricane Michael hit. We immediately wondered how they were providing resident with meals. There are 250 elderly men and women living at this facility. Thankfully, the buildings themselves weren't damaged by the storm, but there were minimal staff on site because many lived in areas under evacuation orders. The staff members who did stay were doing their best to care for the residents despite a lack of power.Read more
In all my years of providing meals to disaster victims, I have never seen a situation in which Mercy Chefs was more needed than right now...
People here and up into Georgia are saying,"We have no food. No water. No power. No phone service." And with each passing hour the desperation grows. Many are losing hope altogether. Some are resorting to looting just to survive. But without power, or food, or water or even a way to call for help, sadly looting has become their last resort.Read more
The devastation is horrendous. It's hard to find something, anything that wasn't impacted by this deadly Category 4 storm. Almost everything here has been wiped out. Infrastructure will need to be rebuilt. We're hearing it will take at least a week before power is restored. Along one major highway, all the utility poles are down. We've provided meals for electrical workers who are working all day and well into the night to restore electricity.
It's not just the beachfront homes that have been affected; inland areas have been hit hard by Michael, too. Some people whose homes were completely destroyed weren't even in an evacuation zone. We're still looking for ways to get meals into the Mexico Beach area, where search-and-rescue teams are still working to find survivors and victims. We've heard that only about 20 percent of the city's residents evacuated. Most just didn't have time to leave. A large number of people are still missing. The worst may not be over for this battered and broken community, as the casualty numbers continue to go up.
+ + Mercy Chefs will soon be able to provide 18,000 daily meals!Read more
Hurricane Florence is the kind of storm that people need to pay attention to. The words being used to describe it include: Catastrophic. Total destruction. Life threatening. Everyone within the projected path of Florence needs to take this hurricane VERY seriously.
In just 36 hours, its wind speeds doubled from 70 to 140 miles per hour. Forecasters are predicting the storm's intensity to increase even more before likely making landfall along the North Carolina coast on Thursday or Friday. It's expected to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast since Hurricane Hugo in 1989. But by the time Florence comes ashore, it could be even worse than that Category 5 storm. Attached is a satellite image of what the hurricane might look like when it makes landfall.Read more
Hurricane Florence intensified overnight and this morning, so it's now a dangerous "Category 4" storm. Currently located off the East Coast of the United States, this life-threatening weather system is expected to intensify even more, as it approaches warmer water, and make landfall later this week. A weather forecaster I know and trust, Alan Lammey, recently posted this on his Facebook page:
"If you live in the South Carolina/North Carolina/Virginia area, you should be preparing for an imminent disaster to the area. You should also be making serious plans to leave the area" (emphasis added).Read more
It's when family members return to the ashes and rubble of their homes, often for the first time, to begin sorting through whatever fragments of memories might remain from their burned down homes.
Every time we see the reality of disaster this close up, it's as if time stops. Seeing home after home reduced to ash and barely recognizable scraps of belongings takes your breath away. You don't even want to speak.
Something else always happens. We see hope in the midst of disaster. Which brings us to the "lucky day."Read more
The California wildfire crisis continues to expand, and we are still two weeks away from what experts consider the peak wildfire season.
The Carr fire that has devastated the city of Redding (where Mercy Chefs is headquartered) is still less than 50 percent contained and now has consumed over 150,000 acres. The impact on this region is nothing less than shocking. You simply cannot escape the smoke as the air quality has made it hazardous to even go outside without a mask. And more than 1,500 homes and buildings have been destroyed.
Another massive fire more than DOUBLED in size over the weekend and is now the second largest wildfire in state history. Experts fear it could threaten thousands more homes and buildings in the coming days.Read more
Our Mercy Chefs team just posted this video revealing the shocking devastation of the California wildfires, and how friends like you are helping to bring relief to those who are suffering.
Mercy Chefs has deployed to northern California to provide emergency relief as fast-moving wildfires are devastating entire communities. Tens of thousands of people have been been evacuated and hundreds of structures have burned to the ground.