Our time in Cedar Rapids has been one of the most unexpected and rewarding disaster deployments in our history. Unexpected in that none of us had ever experienced the aftermath of "derecho" winds -- effectively an inland CAT-2 hurricane that struck across hundreds of miles with the warning of a tornado. Rewarding because we have seen firsthand how good people can band together to bring relief when and where it is needed most.

+ + "Thank you for providing hot meals"

Today, our team is hard at work serving meals in Cedar Rapids
as the time for this deployment winds down. For nearly all the community, power has been restored which is the first key ingredient to recovery from a storm. Through yesterday dinner, Mercy Chefs had served over 30,000 meals to hurting families in Cedar Rapids and surrounding communities. It's amazing how the generosity of friends like you has helped us bless so many who were hit by this storm.

Here are just a few of the comments we've received from our new friends in Iowa...

"Thank you for providing hot meals for our family. Our electricity returned last night but with no food yet in the fridge, the kids begged to return to Mercy Chefs for lunch again today. Thank you for all you are doing for the Cedar Rapids community.... My daughter was so excited the first time to have salad and fruit!! It was all delicious. Thanks for helping!" --Jenny

"We so appreciate the ministry of a hot meal given here in Cedar Rapids! I continue to pray for your group and my fellow residents of this great Iowa town! We love you!" --Mary

"Thank you so much for the incredible food and compassionate spirit. Words can't express how incredibly grateful that you are here in this time of need." --Carrie

(From a volunteer) "I helped there Tuesday & Wednesday! Over the top excited about the fresh ingredients and wholesome food they provided our community!!" --Amber

+ + Two storms on the horizon

This has already been an unprecedented summer for Mercy Chefs with two major storm deployments and more than FOUR MILLION meals provided through our COVID response. Now, my team is getting ready for a potential double strike by tropical storms Laura and Marco which are rapidly developing over the Caribbean and Gulf. It is now possible that these storms could both develop into hurricanes and strike the U.S. almost simultaneously. If so, it would be the first time in decades that America faced simultaneous hurricanes.

I guess it's 2020. We should almost expect it!

As I write, my team is preparing for this possibility. As I've noted, the costs in Cedar Rapids have been far higher than normal, primarily due to the power outage and COVID supply chain disruptions. In a summer in which we've reached more people than at any time in our history, and with new storm threats looming while expenses are mounting, we still need help. As the Lord leads, please consider making a special gift today to help Mercy Chefs in our service to storm victims in Iowa and as we prepare for what may be just ahead

On behalf of the tens of thousands we've been serving in Iowa, the millions your generosity has reached this summer, and the many more Mercy Chefs will help in the coming days and weeks, thank you and God bless you!

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

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