Monday from Cedar Rapids

Pictures are starting to circulate of families living in tents in their own back yards. So many people here are still without power that they are resorting to serious measures just to make it through. And we're hearing that some areas may not see power restored for two more weeks.

The neighborhoods here look just like they were hit by a bad hurricane.
This derecho was a MAJOR DISASTER -- the equivalent of a CAT 2 hurricane. Perhaps because it was so unusual, the national media has mostly missed it. Just now, the word is getting out.

+ + We served 5,300 meals yesterday; more today...

Yesterday, we served 5,300 meals, which far exceeded our initial projections. We literally blew through two or three days of planned menus. Typically on deployment, our chef team prepares a menu for each meal service. But when the lines don't subside, we have to start on the next meal and serve it early. Yesterday, we went through five of our planned meals. And people just kept coming!

At 9:30 this morning, cars were already starting to line up (hours before we'd be ready to serve meals). 

I'm expecting that we will easily meet or even EXCEED yesterday's meal total. My team is now preparing to provide tens of thousands of meals here in Iowa -- all while we closely watch two storm systems developing in the Atlantic.

I don't see an end in sight to the need. 

Can you help? If you can help sponsor 20, 40, 100, 200, 500 or more meals, it will be a great blessing to the folks here. At 5,000 meals a day, we need hundreds of friends to partner with us every day! Go here to make your tax-deductible gift to sponsor hot meals for Iowa storm victims while we continue other vital efforts:

The people here are so precious. They can't quite understand why Mercy Chefs has come to their community to help people we don't know personally. They ask us if an insurance company or some federal program is paying the costs. We tell them, no. We share how faithful and caring friends from across the country help provide for every meal. Friends like you who donate $50 to help provide 20 meals, or $100 to provide 40 meals are making a real difference in people's lives today.

Again, we'll serve at least 5,000 meals today. And I see no end in sight. Please help. And pray for the people here as well as our Mercy Chefs team -- that we will reach as many people as possible with high-quality, nutritious meals that make a real difference.

Thanks and God bless!

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. Word is starting to spread to the outlying communities, many of which have received little or no aid or support. I want to do everything in our power to reach as many people as possible. Please help, and thanks in advance.

To donate by check, go here for mailing instructions.

If you missed my video report from the weekend, go here: