Ann and I have been working our way towards Lake Charles all day after the CAT-4 Laura steamrolled through the Louisiana coastline. It's hard to believe that Lake Charles is 30 MILES inland from where the hurricane first made landfall. The city has been decimated -- power is out, water isn't running and there's been a raging fire at a chemical plant. The mayor of Lake Charles told the Weather Channel that this was a "catastrophic wind event," and added:

“I’m looking out my window and I see buildings in downtown Lake Charles that look like Swiss cheese. I see a TV tower that’s collapsed. I see literal entire facades of buildings that are blown off, not just windows. First floor of city hall, the entire first floor walls are basically just blown apart.”

This community and surrounding communities are going to need intense help over the next several days. We are bringing two mobile kitchens and teams to the area and we'll be responding in both Lake Charles and Cameron Parish (which is right on the coast). I'll have more details in the next 12-18 hours but it is absolutely critical that we reach our full capacity so we can meet these urgent needs over the next 72 hours.

+ + Unexpected Matching Challenge to help with Laura Relief

I'm thrilled to announced that a faithful friend of Mercy Chefs has offered to provide a $25,000 MATCHING CHALLENGE gift if we would contact other team members and ask them to match this amount. That means your gift of $50 will be doubled and help feed 40 people; $100 will help feed 80 people; $250 will help feed 200 people; $500 will help feed 400; and $1,000 will help provide 800 meals.

Can you help right now as we rush to get our teams serving meals here in Louisiana? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift:

THIS IS A CRITICAL TIME IN OUR RESPONSE. Much of the infrastructure in and around both Lake Charles and Cameron Parish has been decimated. Like in Iowa, we may have to create our own supply chain, which only adds to the costs and the difficulty. Your gift right now will help make a huge difference in our ability to respond in the first days of this crisis.

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. Again, The situation is so bad it's been a struggle just to get to Lake Charles. The devastation here is immense. The main interstate is closed and power and water are out. This is going to be an intense disaster relief response. Please help! And note that your gift right now will be DOUBLED in impact by a generous $25,000 Matching Challenge. Go here: