I'm writing to you from Panama City, Florida, where our Mercy Chefs team is feeding schoolchildren here who are now out of school at least through the end of this month due to the coronavirus shutdown.
Yesterday, the water heater at our facility broke. The school system here is helping us bring one over from a different location, but there will be some expense (labor costs, etc.) to make it operational. We'll get through this so our team can stay focused on the need here which could rapidly increase due to the coronavirus crisis. One week of Spring Break has already turned into two weeks out of school, with no end in sight at this point. We will be here to help.
+ + Crisis pushing us to FULL CAPACITY
As I noted to you over the weekend, the coronavirus crisis will stretch and test our Mercy Chefs' resources like nothing in our history -- and it is already pushing us to FULL CAPACITY in Virginia. Our Virginia-based team has been on conference calls with the state's Emergency Operations Management Team, and they are asking us to prepare meals for needy children and families, along with the elderly who must stay in for fear of the virus. This will immediately take our Virginia kitchen to full capacity for meal service.
And the phones keep ringing from across the country. We are preparing our kitchens should they be needed at hot spots across the country.
Here's what all this means.... I expect we'll serve THOUSANDS if not TENS OF THOUSANDS of additional meals that are not in our current budget over the next several weeks.
Now, I need the help of every Mercy Chefs friend and partner so we can immediately expand our meal capacity. Can I count on you this week? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift to help us respond to this coronavirus crisis while we continue other vital efforts:
+ + Something no one ever expected
This is clearly something that none of us expected. Even just one month ago, it was unimaginable that our society would have so quickly moved to this degree of societal shutdown. Our 14 years of commitment to providing high-quality, safe, and nutritious meals has never before been in such demand.
Again, I believe this could be the greatest hour for people of faith and compassion who are willing and eager to reach out to their neighbors. One way you can do that is to support Mercy Chefs by sponsoring 10, 20, 50 or even 100 meals or more if the Lord has blessed you financially. Go here to help.
Finally, please be praying for our nation and especially for those who are most vulnerable during this time -- the elderly who are now afraid to leave their homes and children from struggling families. And please lift up our entire Mercy Chefs team that God will give us great wisdom, favor and protection has we serve in the midst of this national crisis.
Thank you and God bless you,
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs