Monday, Labor Day, from Lake Charles

Our chefs and volunteers are serving a full lunch and dinner today -- Labor Day. We need friends to help sponsor each and every meal we'll serve today. Please go here to sponsor 20, 40, 50, 100 or more meals, and see below for a story of one special meal we served. --Gary

I want to tell you about one special meal we served a few days ago.

As I've been sharing with you, our chefs and support staff have been working long hours
-- often from sunrise to long after sundown -- to plan, prepare, cook and serve thousands of meals every day here in Louisiana.

+ + Unexpected tears at the end of a long day...

We were coming to the end of another long day and I noticed one of our key chefs looked a bit tired. He'd been working 15-18-hour days since this deployment started. It was about 6 pm -- right in the middle of our dinner service -- and I decided he needed the rest of the night off. So I approached him, told him his day was done, and handed him one of the meals he had worked so hard to prepare.

He tried to resist me. He wanted to keep working to prepare the next meal. But I insisted.

So he went and sat down at one of the tables nearby with a Mercy Chefs meal.

A few minutes later, I looked over and noticed tears in his eyes. I walked over to see how he was doing. "As many thousands of Mercy Chefs meals as I've cooked," he told me, "I've never had the opportunity to actually sit down and eat one." Sure, he'd grab a meal when needed, but it was always on the run as he worked toward the next food preparation goal. 

But to actually sit down and get a small taste of the relief and joy these meals bring, this was a first.

"This meal is wonderful," he said. "Everything is seasoned, the flavors are balanced. It's perfectly cooked. Given the volume we produce, I know the product is something beyond our abilities. God is in these meals!"

+ + "God is in these meals"

Yesterday, we crossed 40,000 meals served here in Louisiana. Every day, we're meeting critical needs in Lake Charles as well as surrounding communities. For the people here, this crisis is far from over. Most of the folks here still do not have power or drinkable water, and it is HOT! This is the second hottest deployment that I can recall.

Yet in the midst of all the struggles, I truly believe God is in these meals! We see it every day on the faces of those we're helping. People can't believe we're serving chef-prepared, restaurant-quality meals in the middle of a natural disaster.

Today, Labor Day, we'll serve thousands more. And I need your help! We need friends to sponsor each and every one of TODAY'S meals! Can I count on you? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift and help Mercy Chefs feed hurricane victims right now while we continue other efforts:

Yes, God is in these meals. Because they're not simply meals. What you are helping us provide represents tangible hope. It's a powerful symbol that someone cares and that there is always a special place prepared for us at God's table.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and God bless!

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

$50 helps sponsor 20 meals; $100 helps us feed 40 people; $250 helps feed 100 people. Go here.