Tuesday P.M. from Cedar Rapids

We need help in an urgent way over the next 24 hours. Please go here to sponsor meals for Iowa storm victims, and see below. -- Gary

Here in Cedar Rapids, both the need and the costs have been overwhelming. We served 5,500 meals yesterday and before we close the kitchen this evening, we'll serve another 6,000 meals. But 6,000 meals feels like about 10,000 meals right now because the COVID crisis has caused food costs to SKYROCKET. Here are the grocery receipts from just the past two days:

Everything is at least 15-20% more expensive across the board, with some items being 50% more than we have ever seen. Other key "staples" are unavailable or in short supply, forcing my team to get even more creative so we can reach the most people with the best possible meals.

Truth be told, as of this morning, we were SHORT on the raw cost of groceries alone -- and that doesn't include all the other costs of moving our equipment and team here. On top of this, our main generator broke down this morning. That alone will cost about $3,500 to fix, but for the time being everything just got much more difficult.

I'm asking for the help of every Mercy Chefs team member in a special way over the next 24 hours. We need help to make up this shortfall so we can keep meeting the unbelievable need here! Go here to make your tax-deductible gift to sponsor hot meals for Iowa storm victims while we continue other vital efforts:

This morning, an entire tractor trailer truckload of food arrived from our supplier. By tomorrow lunch, ALL OF THIS FOOD WILL BE GONE! We're ordering even more for tomorrow, with no end in sight. The bills are a bit overwhelming right now, but the need is staggering. Mercy Chefs was the first meal provider to arrive and I want to do everything in our power to help these good folks who are facing the really difficult challenge of sorting through the damage and rebuilding their lives.

For some, their homes and apartments have been officially condemned, but they are still living in their homes because they have no place to go. The chef-quality meals we are providing are like a lifeline of hope to these folks.

Again, we're short on the raw cost of our groceries. I need to make up that gap and then we need the resources for another truck-full of groceries that will arrive tomorrow while expecting an additional 6,000 people who need our help.

Thanks in advance, and God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. President Trump came to town today. Hopefully, this will cause the national media to focus even for a few moments on the plight of these people in America's Heartland who were all-but forgotten for the first week. That's why I'm so grateful for friends like you who have stood with us since Day One of this deployment. With your help, I know we will overcome these challenges and reach tens of thousands here with hot meals and, most importantly, hope that better days are coming. Go here and thanks in advance:

To donate by check, go here for mailing instructions.