Saturday P.M. from Lake Charles

I'm at a loss for words.

This is dire.

Katrina. Harvey. Maria. Michael. And now Laura. One of the worst we've seen.

We served our first meals today at lunch and the people who are coming are distraught. They are just broken. They weep as we hand them a hot meal. It's heartbreaking.
+ + "My house is destroyed. I don't know what to do..."

A mom came with her baby. She left the other kids back at what was left of her home. "My house is destroyed. I don't know what to do." Her lips quivered and she started to cry. Ann told her, "We are here for you." The woman was really struggling but managed to say, "I just can't thank you enough. I know with COVID, we're not supposed to hug, but..." Ann reached out and gave her a hug and told her that Mercy Chefs would be there for her and her family.

An older man came and he was really laboring to walk while he carried his meals. I'm not sure he would have even made it back to his house. John, one of our chefs, put his arm around him, helped him to one of our trucks and gave him a ride home.

Last night, we heard about an indigent care facility that had been all-but forgotten. About 30 residents -- many older but others with dementia and various special needs. Apparently the staff had evacuated and the residents were left behind with no power and no water. One woman asked for a flashlight because she's afraid of the dark. So we brought them flashlights today with lunch.

When a member of local law enforcement arrived, he told the patients they had to evacuate. But these folks have absolutely no physical ability or even the resources to evacuate. As he left, he somewhat jokingly told them they would have to call him to remind him they are there.

+ + Shocking and surreal... urgent help needed this weekend

It's all quite shocking and surreal. The entire community is that much in trauma. Some here wonder out loud if this will be the end of Lake Charles. But we see many who never evacuated. They need a helping hand in an urgent way right now.

Can you help? Your support this weekend will be a lifeline of hope for so many people here who are hurting with no place to turn. Go here to donate now and help Mercy Chefs provide hot meals to Hurricane Laura victims and volunteers while we continue other vital efforts:

If you contributed in the last few days, thanks so much! If you can give again, we would be so grateful. If you haven't, please prayerfully consider how you can help this weekend. This is one of those "all hands on deck" moments, and I want to make sure we meet every need we possibly can.

The surrounding towns and parishes were devastated as well. Word is starting to spread and we'll be getting meals out to them soon. We also "adopted" the local National Guard post and we'll be serving about 300 troops there every day. I'll be making a decision in the next 24 hours or so whether we need a third kitchen and if we need a second base of operations. The situation here is so bad I'm going to do everything in my power to feed and care for as many people as possible.

Thank you so much for standing with Mercy Chefs in this critical hour. Your prayers and support are a powerful blessing right now for people whose lives have been devastated by this storm.

God bless,

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs