Please read 15-year-old Valeria's story below of how your partnership helped Mercy Chefs meet a special need in the midst of wildfire devastation. --Gary
Just over two weeks ago, a massive wildfire swept down the hillside and consumed the historic town of Lahaina. As of yesterday, the death toll had climbed to 115 with nearly 400 still unaccounted for. Thousands of homes and buildings were burned to the ground or damaged beyond repair.
In the midst of unimaginable devastation and grief, our Mercy Chefs team looks for moments to help disaster victims reclaim some sense of "normal" for their lives. This is the long-term goal of every community that is hit by disaster. But the road to "normal" is long and difficult.
+ + Valeria's story...
Take Valeria, for example. Before the wildfires hit, she had been planning her quinceañera -- a special 15th birthday celebration. With no dress or decorations or place to host the party, she assumed the party simply wouldn't happen.
When our team heard about Valeria's situation, we knew we had to surprise her with a special quinceañera. Working with our partners at Citizen Church, we scurried around the island to find a dress and decorations. In addition to the full meal service we were providing to wildfire victims, our team cooked and served a delicious meal for Valeria and about 100 guests at her quinceañera.
When Valeria arrived, her face lit up, and joy filled the room. It was a special time as we also surprised her with gifts, including a Bible, jewelry, and a way for her to listen to the music she'd lost in the fire.
For Valeria, her family, and friends, that party was an important restoration of normalcy. For our team, moments like this -- when we can meet the special needs of individuals in the midst of disaster -- stand out. Our mission is about much more than chef-prepared meals. Mercy Chefs exists to offer hope, love, and comfort when there seems to be none.
Mercy Chefs is continuing to provide hope and practical help to Maui wildfire victims. For about $35, a Family Grocery Box can provide 20 meals for a family trying to reclaim normalcy in their lives. Perhaps you could help two families this weekend ($70), or even three families ($105). Go here to sponsor one, two, three or more families:
Finally, please keep praying for the people here. So many have lost so much. Slowly, this community will recover and rebuild. But they need our continued prayers and support.
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
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