With our Virginia team's efforts expanding by the day (we are now well over 15,000 meals a week), the Lord is opening doors to take our Mercy Chefs COVID-19 efforts to multiple communities across the country.

We've been working on this for a few weeks, but now that the plan is coming together, I want to share the details with you.

As I'm sure you know, the combination of the "stay home" orders and the deepening economic crisis is causing the need for relief meals to explode. Our Virginia team is creating meals for folks across more than a 100-mile spread, but there are so many other areas of critical need. Communities that rely on tourism and vacationers have been particularly hard hit. Some of these areas have 50%, 60% or more unemployment.

So here's what's happening... and it's happening fast!

+ + Multiplying our model to reach more people during this crisis

Because of our work in disaster relief, Mercy Chefs has built relationships with food purveyors around the country.
Right now, these distributors have a strong supply of food in their "pipeline" that will likely go to waste unless they can find a way to get it to people in need. Enter Mercy Chefs. In several critically hit regions we are building a bridge between our volunteers on the ground and this supply of food resources. I'm talking real food -- the raw ingredients for the types of meals that Mercy Chefs prepares and that people urgently need right now. Chicken. Ground beef. Vegetables. Not MREs or boxed cereals.

As I write, we are working with volunteers literally across the country in places like Fayetteville (NC), Pensacola (FL), Apopka (FL), Florence (SC), Columbia (SC), Memphis (TN), Canon Beach (OR) and even on the island of Maui (where the economy is based on tourism and unemployment is expected to reach 70% by next week). Mercy Chefs, through our distribution partners, will be providing eight new locations with all the food along with the recipes, strategies and protocols on how to package the food so families can have nutritious meals.

We tested this new outreach model on Maui last week and it went extremely well. Our volunteers were able to prepare meal packages that provide three meals each for families of four -- with each meal including a starch, protein and a vegetable.

These are meals that meet Mercy Chefs' standards in nutritional value and excellence. This is vitally important, because we will not compromise our standards of providing high-quality, real meals. Plus, this is what people urgently need right now.

Over the next week, we will continue rolling out this new outreach model in new locations. And this is a model that we can take to even more communities as the doors open and as we have funding.

{{recipient.first_name_or_friend}}, I'm turning to friends like you to help make this happen. Can I count on your financial partnership so we can immediately DOUBLE the number of meals we are helping to provide in response to this coronavirus crisis? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift directly to Mercy Chefs:

From everything we are seeing, the greatest need for meals will build over the next three weeks. What was a large and difficult undertaking given the challenges presented by this virus just became monumental. But so did the opportunity to help hurting people!

And our calling remains the same -- just go and feed people and meet their practical needs in a way that feeds body and soul.

Thanks for your prayers for our nation and for Mercy Chefs as we extend a practical hand of help to thousands every day. And thanks in advance for your help as we expand to meet the exploding need.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. The stories break my heart, but I'm so grateful that Mercy Chefs can help bring relief. For example, we're hearing from elderly shut ins -- afraid to go out because of the threat of the virus -- who are so thankful to receive real, chef-prepared meals. Now, the Lord is opening doors to double or even triple the number of people we can help reach during this crisis. But we need your help! Please go here to make your tax-deductible gift. If you prefer to donate by check, go here for mailing instructions: