You may have heard about the very unexpected "derecho" winds that ravaged Iowa earlier this week. The storm and its winds stretched across hundreds of miles and flattened as much as ONE-THIRD of Iowa's crops.
+ + Hundreds of thousands without power...
The situation in Iowa is critical right now. As many as 300,000 Iowans are without power and officials say at least 120,000 are expected not to have power for at least TWO WEEKS. As a result, much of the infrastructure isn't working. Entire communities are without an operational gas station. No restaurants are open. There's not a hotel to be found.
Today, I received a phone call from a long-time contact in humanitarian relief who was in Cedar Rapids, one of the hardest hit areas. This friend was witnessing both the damage and the need up close, and he made an urgent appeal to me...
"Gary, I have never called and asked you for anything before, but Mercy Chefs is needed here in Cedar Rapids!"
How could I say, "No"? I simply couldn't.
+ + Deployment under way...
Tomorrow morning, our Virginia team is taking our Command Post and the smoker on the 17-hour drive to Cedar Rapids where I will be joined by three of our top chefs and other support personnel. We are also moving our Mercy One mobile kitchen along with refrigerated box trucks from Oklahoma.
This a major deployment -- our second full deployment in just a few weeks, all while we continue our unprecedented COVID outreaches. Now, I'm asking friends like you to help us help these good folks in Iowa...
Will you partner with Mercy Chefs as we bring relief to Iowans who have been struck by what amounted to a storm with tornado-force winds that swept across hundreds of miles and ravaged the state? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift and help sponsor 10, 20, 50, or even 100 meals to help provide hot meals to our friends in Iowa impacted by this storm while we continue other vital efforts:
As you can imagine, our resources are already challenged by the unexpected scope of our coronavirus response, but we simply must answer the call.
I'll be on the ground in Cedar Rapids tomorrow. Can you help me in the next 24 hours as we move our staff and equipment, and purchase all the necessary food and other resources we need to serve thousands of meals in Iowa? Go here.
Thanks in advance, and be watching for more updates.
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. The damage is so widespread that utilities workers will need many days and even weeks to restore power. With hundreds of thousands without power, our hot meals can make a huge difference. Go here and thanks in advance for partnering with us: