One of the unexpected nightmares of the coronavirus crisis has been the stories of food going to waste.

With supply chains being disrupted, farmers across the country are facing the impossible decision of plowing their crops back into the ground despite the fact that millions of hard-hit Americans are waiting in long lines for food. This amounts to a tragic waste of food when so many are struggling.

Thankfully, the U.S. government recently initiated a "Farmers to Families Food Box" program to turn the food that would have been wasted into meals for hurting families. One of the key "missing links" in the process is getting the boxed-up food from the farmers and distributors into the hands of those in need in the hardest-hit communities.

Enter Mercy Chefs.

Because we have such a strong network of volunteers, church groups and other local organizations, Mercy Chefs is perfectly suited to meet this critical need. Late last week, we finalized plans for our first Mercy Chefs "Farmers to Families" distribution program -- starting in Oklahoma. Through this one program, Mercy Chefs will reach about 30 hard-hit locations across rural Oklahoma -- folks that haven't been reached by traditional support systems.

Just yesterday, we delivered our first set of "Farmers to Families" food boxes -- enough to help provide 6,000 meals for hurting families.

Again, many of the areas we are reaching are smaller communities from the urban centers which are often the last places to receive help in a time of crisis. We anticipate that our pilot program in Oklahoma will distribute enough Family Food Boxes to provide more than 20,000 meals a week!

And here's where this gets very exciting... and challenging.

I've already started the ball rolling to establish a similar Mercy Chefs "Farmers to Families" program based out of Atlanta that could serve a massive region including Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama. We also have partners in Virginia and Florida who could help us replicate this program very quickly. If we have the funding, we could have two or three more Mercy Chefs "Farmers to Families" programs running in the next two weeks. And more could follow.

But here's the challenge...

This new "Farmers to Families" outreach is in addition to all that Mercy Chefs is currently doing to reach tens of thousands every week during this unprecedented crisis. We simply don't have the funds in our budget for this new expansion that could reach tens of thousands more people.

I know these are tough times. But I'm turning once again to friends like you because the need is so great and the opportunity to help hurting people so unprecedented.

Will you partner with me to turn food that was going to be wasted into life-supporting meals for hurting folks during this crisis? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift directly to Mercy Chefs to help us respond to this crisis and continue other efforts:

When I connected with my contact at the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives about how Mercy Chefs might help with the "Farmers to Families" program, I knew we had to get involved. Mercy Chefs fills a unique role in this process. We have the contacts on the ground who can get the food directly to those in need -- especially in rural communities that are harder to reach. Also, since the content of the food boxes depends on what local farmers can supply, we will be adding resources -- a protein, bread, or whatever is needed -- to make these more complete meals.

Yesterday, our Chef Lisa was on hand as our Mercy Chefs truck delivered the first meals. Almost at the same time, meals were being prepared for delivery from our Virginia kitchen, and food boxes were being assembled in communities across the country.

A few months ago, I never imagined that Mercy Chefs would be called upon to meet such a critical need in so many communities. Quite frankly, with this new effort, I'm totally stepping out in faith. 

Will you step out with me in a special way this week? Will you prayerfully consider equalling or exceeding the best gift you've made to Mercy Chefs during this coronavirus crisis? The need is that critical and the opportunity that great. Of course, every gift will help. This week alone, friends like you will help us reach over 30,000 people and that could easily double as funds allow us to expand this new "Farmers to Families" outreach.

Finally, THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS! Every time the Lord opens a new door of opportunity like this "Farmers to Families" program, I think about friends like you who are supporting this work with your prayers and gifts. Your prayers are opening doors. And your generous support is making every meal possible. Please continue to pray for God's wisdom and provision as we work to reach as many people in the most effective ways possible.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc

P.S. Above are a few photos from yesterday -- the first day of our "Farmers to Families" outreach. The people we are reaching in these hard-hit, mostly rural communities, are so grateful that Mercy Chefs has stepped up to provide this lifeline of support. I've stepped out in faith to meet this need, and I want to expand to more states. But I need your help. Please go here to help Mercy Chefs.