I'm thrilled to report that we are now moving ahead with what I believe is a God-inspired plan to help both Abaco and Grand Bahama islands on their long road to recovery...
We're going to help get the churches established first!
What has struck me during my time on both these islands has been the dogged determination of the pastors and church leaders we have met. Many of these dear folks have lost everything -- loved ones, houses, and all or most of their earthly belongings. Yet despite their loss, they feel such a strong calling to their communities that they are digging in, refusing to leave, and determined to rebuild their communities.Read more
We are starting to see some breakthroughs here in the Bahamas. First, the meeting with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis was very productive. It was a great opportunity to connect with potential partners as we continue to help bring relief in the most hurricane-devastated islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
+ + Prime Minister: "I know Mercy Chefs"
Because friends like like you have made it possible for Mercy Chefs to serve more than 65,000 meals here, the quality and importance of our work is already well established in the minds of Bahamian government officials. In fact, Prime Minister Minnis openly expressed his gratefulness for the work of Mercy Chefs and the quality of our food. He told me...Read more
I want to share with you the latest on what's happening in the Bahamas. This is one of the most devastating tragedies I've ever seen. The people we met yesterday have lived through a horrific nightmare. Now they face a seemingly impossible task of rebuilding their lives. Here are a few of those stories. --Gary
Yesterday, we flew to Grand Bahama where we met with several pastors and got an even more up close and personal look at the devastating physical and emotional impact of this storm.
First, the destruction is everywhere. We saw concrete structures built to sustain hurricane-force winds that were decimated by the winds and the rising waters.
It was shocking to see. What gripped our hearts the most was hearing story after story of tragic loss of life and heart-wrenching survival. Here are just a few of the stories...
Ann and I are back in the Bahamas as we work to launch the next important phase of our work here to reach the hardest-hit folks on Grand Bahama and Abaco islands who still need a reliable source of relief supplies and resources.
The stories continue to hit us right in the heart. One of the evacuees you have been helping to provide hot meals to is Kevel (pictured on the left). Wanda, one of our team members from Puerto Rico, was able to talk with Kevel to hear her story and pray for their family.
Kevel, her husband and five children are from Abaco, but were forced to evacuate to Nassau and essentially leave everything behind. They had been staying with a family they had never met before, but the gas at the house was shut off. So they began visiting one of Mercy Chefs' feeding locations twice every day. They had nowhere else to turn. Thanks to you, we were able to provide Kevel and her family hot meals day after day. Like many here, their family's crisis is far from over. They are again looking for housing. So many still need help.
I just met a woman who shared with us a story that really drove home the importance of our work here in Texas...
Just two years ago, her family lost just about everything to Hurricane Harvey. She even lost her mother from a heart attack during the storm. Their home had been flooded and just recently they had been able to finish the final repairs.
Then the rains started last week. And they didn't stop until nearly four feet of rain had fallen, creating the second 1,000-year flood for her community in the past two years!Read more
These are the times when we need our faithful Mercy Chefs partners to help us in a big way. Mercy Chefs is fully engaged in two major deployments. We'll serve 25,000 meals this week, and I need your help. Please see below. --Gary
Yesterday, I joined our Mercy Chefs team here in Beaumont, Texas, where the flooding from last week's tropical storm is the worst they have seen in history.
The major Interstate is still closed and entire neighborhoods have been overwhelmed by floodwaters. I never get used to seeing home after home with mountains of debris stacked on the curb representing all or most of a family's earthly possessions. Floodwaters are filthy, and they destroy everything in their path.
Here are a few more images from what I saw on Abaco Island -- the hardest hit island in the Bahamas.
Even as we were flying in, it was clear that the destruction extended as far as the eye could see...
Today is DAY NINE of Mercy Chefs providing hot meals, fresh produce and vital supplies to Hurricane Dorian evacuees here in the Bahamas, and the need isn't letting up.
In fact, hundreds of evacuees are still arriving every day, putting even more strain on the over-capacity shelters as well as the locals who are opening their homes to the evacuees. Today, we're adding two new churches as partners in our distribution network, which has been the key in getting hot meals to the families who are taking in five, ten or more hurricane victims. Just about everyone here is taking in evacuees.Read more
With thousands of evacuees still pouring in, the conditions in the shelters are getting more pressurized.
It tears at my heart. First off, just about every person we are serving was forced to evacuate because their home and just about all their belongings had been destroyed. That alone makes every day a battle just to survive. The local paper is reporting that thousands are still missing. That means many of those who are receiving hot meals from Mercy Chefs already lost a loved one or close friend or know someone who is still missing two weeks after the storm.Read more