This week we are wrapping up our daily crisis response hot meal service here in Louisiana. It has been one of the most challenging and rewarding deployments in Mercy Chefs' history.
Thanks to friends like you, we have been able to serve over 200,000 meals to those recovering from Hurricane Ida. My team prepared a special "thank you" for all who partnered with us through your prayers and financial support:
+ + Your support has made a difference
Due in large part to how widespread the power outages were, this deployment was as challenging as I can recall. When we arrived, there was literally no place to buy fuel or food or any supplies within driving distance. We had to construct our own supply lines for everything we needed from as far away as Virginia! Day after day, the need only grew. We would send 500 meals to a community and 1,000 people would show up. So we'd send 1,000 meals the next day and 1,500 meals were needed.
It was actually a bit startling to still be getting calls a full week or more after Ida hit from communities that had received little or no aid and had an urgent need for meals. I'd inform my team and they would somehow find a way to make it happen. Our Mercy Chefs team has been unbelievably amazing. For much of this deployment, more than two dozen chefs and support team members were sleeping on air mattresses and cots without air conditioning, getting up in the pre-dawn hours and working in kitchens that topped 125 degrees! And the team has served day after day with great joy and perseverance because they believe in our mission of bringing hope to the hurting in the midst of disasters in the form of a hot meal.
And these meals have been a great blessing. Here are just a few of the notes of thanks we've received...
Thank you for the wonderful dinner that you all provided for us tonight. The meal was fantastic and all the guys loved it. It was a very needed gesture of love and kindness to a bunch of guys a long way from home.
Thank you for praying for me last night I love you guys.
Thank you for all you do! You have been a Godsend to our community!
Thank you All and God Bless y'all
This week, we'll shift our focus here in Louisiana from disaster response to long-term recovery support. My desire is that we will be able to follow the same model we have used so successfully in Panama City (FL), where Mercy Chefs still has a presence three years after Hurricane Michael hit.
Thank you so much for partnering with Mercy Chefs. Your financial support has made every meal possible. During the most difficult times, your prayers have helped to carry our team. On behalf of each person who has been blessed by your generosity, thank you so much!
May God bless you,
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. We still can use your help. Since we made that video, we have far eclipsed 200,000 meals. Quite frankly, the past few days our costs have far exceeded our financial support. Your gift today would be a great blessing! Go here to help sponsor meals or Ida victims: