Hurricane Ian is rapidly gaining strength, headed for Cuba and then a likely landfall on the west coast of Florida, possibly near Tampa Bay.

+ + Bracing for Ian...

Ian is expected to reach Category 3 strength tonight and could increase to a CAT 4 storm with a massive storm surge in one of the most heavily populated coastal regions in the Gulf. If the storm comes ashore north of Tampa, the hurricane's wind pattern could create a devastating storm surge in the Tampa-St. Petersburg region. 

As of midday today, the path of the storm is still uncertain, meaning landfall could happen almost anywhere along the Gulf coast of Florida. As a result, we are bracing for a wide range of possibilities. 

+ + I need your help this week...

I must immediately prepare for what could be a major deployment somewhere in Florida. We have already mobilized key staff in preparation for possible landfall by Wednesday or Thursday. The logistics of preparing for a storm with such a wide possible landfall is very resource intensive.

This is peak hurricane season, and I need your help! Will you partner with Mercy Chefs right now to help feed those whose lives are being impacted by disaster? Go here to help:

+ + "Straight from heaven"

While we gear up for this likely major hurricane landfall in Florida, our Mercy Chefs team continued to reach out to those impacted by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico. We delivered meals to Barceloneta, a community that has been devastated by Hurricane Fiona. One woman who received a Mercy Chefs meal said, "This meal came straight from heaven."

We also prepared and distributed grocery bags to those in need with enough food to feed a family for several days.

As you can see, Mercy Chefs has been in full deployment mode and we are now preparing for another major storm. This is a challenging time for many who have been hit by a hurricane or are facing the threat of a landfall. Please keep praying, and thanks in advance for your support.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

Hurricane Ian track image: National Hurricane Center