Thursday P.M. from Sunrise, FL
I'm issuing an URGENT REQUEST for help in the next 24-48 hours.
Early today, Mercy Chefs was asked to greatly expand our meal service here in South Florida to the search and rescue teams. First, more search teams are coming to Florida to help with this enormous and painstaking task. So we have more workers to feed.
Plus, since the teams are working 12-hour shifts both day and night, we have been asked to add two more meals to serve those working overnight. So in addition to breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mercy Chefs will be providing meals at 11:45PM and 4:30AM. Running day and night shifts means I need to immediately DOUBLE our chefs and our support staff. We're bringing in a second mobile kitchen along with our Command Post. Plus, our smoker trailer is now on site and was put into production earlier today.
In the past 24 hours, our efforts to serve in the aftermath of this tragedy has expanded into a MAJOR DEPLOYMENT. Officials here recognized the quality of our work and keep asking us to do more. Now, I need your help to keep up with these new demands on Mercy Chefs.
+ + Dangerous conditions
The search and rescue teams are working in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. Earlier today, officials suspended all efforts because movement was detected in the part of the building that didn't collapse. These workers are laboring through long 12-hour shifts and their efforts are painstakingly slow due to the danger as well as the workers' utmost respect for human life. Every day they climb the massive pile of broken concrete and steel and carefully move one piece at a time -- filling up five-gallon buckets with broken concrete as they continue their efforts. And they never want to stop -- no matter how hard it rains or how difficult conditions get. It is such a privilege to provide hot, nutritious meals to these brave rescue workers.
Yesterday, after four bodies were found (including two children), the workers were shaken. We could see it on their faces. I can't imagine how difficult it is to sift through rubble for the remains of victims of this tragedy. But everyone here is working for the families. We spoke with a man who lost his parents in this tragedy. He told us he had dinner with them just before the building fell. His parents were found beside each other in the wreckage. It gave him a measure of peace to know his parents were together in their last moments.
Again, we're immediately DOUBLING our efforts and will be serving more workers while adding two night shift meals. Please help today if you can!
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
P.S. Due to the quality of our work, disaster officials here have asked Mercy Chefs to be the exclusive provider of meals for all the search and rescue teams. It is a great honor to be asked to serve in the midst of this tragedy in this way. Now I need your help! Even if you already gave this week, would you consider making another special gift as we DOUBLE our efforts? If you haven't yet donated, please do so today. We need every member of our team standing with us. Go here:
Top image source: Christine Zahralban Facebook