It's even hard for me to believe that our Mercy Chefs team served 204,338 hot meals to Hurricane Ian victims and volunteers in Lee County since that storm first hit.
Serving thousands of meals a day involved very long days for our team members, who were usually up before the sun and worked well into the evening. But the impact these meals had on the people of Lee County has made it all worthwhile.
When we see the countenance lifted on a woman who lost everything in the storm, or a smile on the face of a child who had his whole life turned upside down, we know that Mercy Chefs is doing so much more than serving a meal.
+ + "Hot, hungry, tired"
One day last week, we received a message of thanks from a local resident who had spent the day on Fort Myers Beach helping a friend clear their property...
"We were hot, smelly, hungry and tired. We were inching forward in the line to get off of the island. All of a sudden these two gals were standing on the side of the road offering us a meal. .... What a kind and thoughtful thing to do. Thank you Mercy Chefs for being there and providing us with a delicious hot meal. May God Bless You All!!!!"
Friends like you made that life-giving exchange of practical relief and hope possible. And our work is continuing.
+ + 200,000 more meals...
As our hot meal efforts drew to a close, Mercy Chefs began the distribution of more than 200,000 meals through our grocery program. This effort provides groceries so families can restock their kitchens as they begin to recover.
That means Mercy Chefs will have provided over 400,000 meals for the folks here -- all thanks to friends like you.
As I write, our team is still working out the details of what we hope will be a longer-term recovery outreach similar to what Mercy Chefs has done in the aftermath of other major disasters here in America and in other countries.
For example, later this week Ann and I are returning to Honduras where Mercy Chefs has continued to provide support and resources for the people of that country who were devastated by hurricanes two years ago and were hit again recently by a tropical storm. I'll be sharing more with you on that trip soon.
Thank you again for partnering with Mercy Chefs. Please keep the people of southwest Florida in your prayers. They are going to need support and encouragment for many weeks and months to come.
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. We can still use your help with our Hurricane Ian relief efforts. As I noted, in addition to over 200,000 hot meals, Mercy Chefs is providing another 200,000 meals through our grocery program. Go here to help sponsor meals and continue other efforts: