As I write, Mercy Chefs is deploying in response to the massive tornadoes that hit the South yesterday, leaving at least two dozen dead and 1.2 million homes and businesses without power.

This is devastating, especially with all that is already taking place with the coronavirus crisis. Mercy Chefs is headed to Chattanooga, one of the hardest hit areas, and will be setting up our mobile kitchen and command post over the next 24 hours. My wife Ann and I are departing tonight and our chef team will arrive tomorrow. Our command post vehicle is leaving later tonight and the mobile kitchen that is based in Birmingham (AL) will be on the road in the morning.

We hope to be serving meals by Wednesday.

Initial reports indicate that an EF-3 tornado with winds up to 135 MPH hit East Chattanooga. Hundreds of first responders are conducting a "grid search" of every home. One person on the ground said there was "total destruction" in the East Brainerd area.

I know these are tough times, but our friends across the South need our help right now! Will you prayerfully consider sending your best gift to help Mercy Chefs respond to these massive tornadoes while we continue other vital efforts? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift:

We were already in uncharted territory with our coronavirus response (we just added our 15th community and will serve 30,000-40,000 meals this week). Now, we are mobilizing to help our friends in Chattanooga and surrounding communities. Over the past several weeks, even as we have doubled the number of meals we are providing in response to the coronavirus crisis, we have been careful to deploy resources in a way that would still enable Mercy Chefs to respond to a tornado or other disaster. That disaster has just hit, and now I urgently need the help of every Mercy Chefs team member.

Please.... pray for our nation! Pray for those in the South who were hit by these massive tornadoes. And pray for Mercy Chefs and our team that the Lord will maximize our efforts to reach the most people in these unprecedented times.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc

P.S. Again, I'm headed to Chattanooga right now. The mobile kitchen, chefs and other resources will arrive tomorrow. I fully expect we will be serving meals to tornado victims and volunteers as soon as Wednesday. And of course, we will be applying all the protocols we have learned during the coronavirus crisis to ensure the highest safety standards for food preparation and delivery. Go here to help, and thanks in advance:

P.P.S. Our coronavirus crisis response efforts are continuing to explode. Deliveries are happening all over the country today and this week. And we just added our 16th location! I've set up this page to keep you updated on our coronavirus crisis response as we also deploy to the South in response to these tornadoes.

(Photos courtesy of National Weather Service of Morristown TN)