I trust you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year holiday. This weekend, I returned to Kentucky with our team as Mercy Chefs continues to serve meals to those who are still in shelters.
Reports indicate that as many as 200 families remain in shelters nearly a month after the tornado hit. Mayfield and surrounding communities are very much in the very earliest stages of disaster recovery. Piles of debris are finally starting to be removed, but there is so much debris, it often takes a few sweeps by the Army Corps to get the piles cleared.
+ + A "Beacon Of Hope" for tornado victims...
In addition to serving hot meals to victims, my team is also continuing to work on establishing our long-term response to help the people of Western Kentucky who are still facing a very long road of recovery. This is the same model we have followed in other communities hit by disaster, such as Panama City, Florida, where Mercy Chefs conducted a significant long-term relief effort for more than two years after Hurricane Michael hit.
Western Kentucky requires a similar response. The good news is, we have already established facilities for a base of operations in Paducah, a town nearby to Mayfield which gives us access to the hardest-hit communities in the region. We are calling our new long-term base the Mercy Chefs "Beacon of Hope." From this base, Mercy Chefs will be able to meet both the urgent needs of disaster victims who are still displaced as well as the longer-term needs as these communities recover and rebuild. In Panama City, we supported volunteer work crews from across the country who came to help clear brush and restore homes. We also partnered with local schools and leaders to ensure that displaced children and families had hot meals. We'll do the same here.
But to provide this "Beacon Of Hope" for tornado victims here, we'll be relying on your ongoing prayers and support. I'm so grateful for the many friends who have helped us over the past month. Will you consider helping us this week as we feed tornado victims and establish our long-term "Beacon Of Hope" for these hard-hit communities? Go here to make your gift to Mercy Chefs:
The level of devastation can still feel overwhelming. As I noted, the cleanup is still underway. Many families remain displaced from their homes. The rebuilding will take months, even years. Your partnership will help us bring a practical "Beacon Of Hope" to these hard-hit communities.
Thanks for your prayers, and thanks in advance for your ongoing support.
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. In addition to providing hot meals right through the Christmas season, my team added notes of encouragement to the meals we served over the holidays -- anything we can do to bring hope. That's why we're still serving meals while we work on our longer-term "Beacon of Hope" effort. Go here to help bring hope to tornado victims: