Today, food boxes will be distributed through our pilot "Farmers to Families" program in Oklahoma to 50 locations -- nearly double from just last week. At our distribution center in Claremore, so many people are coming directly to Mercy Chefs for food that the city has jumped in and is helping us with space, volunteers, and traffic flow. Yes, TRAFFIC FLOW! I just got off the phone and there were already 2,000 cars lined up and we were still an hour away from the time for our distribution. The police are actually redirecting traffic. Please understand -- Claremore is a small town, under 20,000 people. But this is just how great the need is in rural areas.
And the people on the receiving end of your generosity are seriously in need. These families aren't coming to us for extra groceries. What we are providing may be all they have in their pantries. The level of need is heartbreaking.
+ + Expanding to a second region now...
As I write, we are finalizing our plans to expand our "Farmers to Families" outreach to a second major region. I just hired our lead person and we are working out the details for equipment leases and location. We will either be based out of Atlanta or the Florida Gulf Coast -- that should be determined in the next 24-36 hours. I expect to have this new base of operations up and running by early next week and I want to get a third location online as soon as possible.
That's because the need is that great. Last week, Mercy Chefs served 72,000 meals through the food box program. By next week, that number will DOUBLE and could DOUBLE AGAIN! The demand is stretching our human and financial resources in ways we have never been stretched.
+ + $30,000 Matching Challenge DOUBLES the impact of your gift!
Thankfully, a dear friend of Mercy Chefs contacted me after being inspired by what's happening and made a special commitment to help us reach even more people. Specifically, this friend offered to donate $30,000 to Mercy Chefs as a MATCHING CHALLENGE on the condition that we raise an additional $30,000 from friends across the country.
To help fuel our expansion and reach perhaps hundreds of thousands of people in the coming weeks, I need to meet or even exceed this $30,000 Matching Challenge as soon as possible. Can you help?
Because of this special Matching Challenge, the impact of every dollar you donate will be DOUBLED. Your $50 gift will have the impact of $100; $100 means a total of $200 is released to help those in need; $250 becomes $500; $500 doubles to $1,000. Every dollar will be matched until we meet the $30,000 Matching Challenge.
Again, the need is more than we could have imagined. Every time we start providing meals, word spreads and the demand doubles.
Please help us meet this challenge -- by this weekend if possible!
Thank you in advance, and God bless,
P.S. My team in Oklahoma is concerned that we will run out of food. We already doubled our capacity, and I may need to do more. In a few days, we'll see the same overwhelming pattern of need repeat as we open our second Farmers to Families base -- either in Atlanta or the Florida Gulf Coast. Plus, we just added Miami and four locations in Puerto Rico. All this is in addition to the thousands of meals our Virginia kitchen is preparing every week.
This Matching Challenge is a godsend. Please help. Every dollar will be doubled until we meet the challenge. Go here: