Wednesday P.M.

The need for meals in response to Hurricane Laura keeps growing...

  • Today, we just added another 500 meals for a community north of Lake Charles that had been being served by another organization that simply ran out of resources. So we're adopting that site.

  • Also today, our team headed to another neighborhood that has been living off of MREs. We'll be getting these folks hot meals -- perhaps the first hot meals some have had since the storm hit.

  • Every lunch, we get slammed with demand. That's because those who evacuated to nearby locations return every day to put tarps on their homes and salvage belongings. We make sure they get a good lunch.

  • Earlier this week, we added a third mobile kitchen so we could serve the neighboring town of Sulphur. We're distributing meals there every day now.

  • We're also delivering meals to Cameron -- one of the hardest hit communities that is right on the Gulf. Most had evacuated. The storm was just too strong to survive. Now, more and more and coming back every day to try to salvage what may remain of their homes. It's the third time Cameron has been decimated in recent years.

Plus, we're bracing for what could be an enormous wave of evacuees returning to Lake Charles. An estimated 35,000 people were evacuated -- to places as far away as Houston to the west and New Orleans to the east. But there's a growing sense that these people are now eager to get back to Lake Charles so they can start picking up the pieces and making small steps on the road to recovery. 

+ + My challenge...

We've reached a critical moment in this deployment. While we are starting to see some positive signs of recovery (still no power, but non-drinkable water is flowing, for example), the need is just as urgent as it was immediately after the storm. In fact, we served MORE MEALS TODAY than we did yesterday, and we'll blow away that total tomorrow and probably every day this week.

More meals means we need more friends to partner with us to sponsor each each every meal. 

Your gift of $50 (20 meals), $100 (40 meals), $250 (100 meals), $500 (200 meals), or even $1,000 (400 meals) or more will be put to work THIS WEEK getting hot meals to disaster victims and volunteers while we continue other efforts. Can I count on you today? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift directly to Mercy Chefs:

If you've been receiving my updates, intending to help but haven't yet, YOUR GIFT TODAY WILL HAVE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT ON OUR EFFORTS. If you donated recently, THANK YOU SO MUCH! As you are able, if you can help again, it would be a great blessing.

+ + How healing happens: neighbors helping neighbors

As I mentioned, we're starting to see the first signs of healing in Lake Charles. One of those signs is watching as neighbors reach out to help neighbors. And Mercy Chefs plays a fascinating role in this process. In the first days after a disaster, people usually receive meals just for their family -- mostly because they want to make sure meals are available for others. We ask if there is anyone else in their neighborhood who might need a meal. The first time, they may take one or two extra meals. But soon, they are serving as the delivery point for Mercy Chefs meals in their neighborhood. 

We were out in a community yesterday when a man stopped us to thank us: "It's amazing what you are doing for our community," he said. "I don't know what we'd do without Mercy Chefs." Then he called for his wife to come over. She said, "We're taking care of an elderly couple across the street, bringing them Mercy Chefs meals."

This is how healing happens. Neighbor looking after neighbor. 

Lake Charles and the surrounding communities have a long way to go to recover from this devastating storm. But every day, your prayers and support of Mercy Chefs are helping this community heal -- one hot meal at a time.

Thank you so much and God bless!

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. One lady who had just enjoyed one of the meals you provided told us, "That's the best meal I've had in a long time; not just since the storm." For dinner tonight, we're serving smoked Kiolbassa sausage, fresh green beans, red beans and rice, and a fresh green salad. Thanks to you, we're uplifting an entire community with chef-quality meals.

As I noted, the demand is increasing. We need more resources to prepare and serve even more meals tomorrow. Go here to help, and thanks in advance: