Thursday PM, Nashville

With every hour that passes, the true magnitude of this storm's devastation grows. For mile after mile, the track of the tornado is visible as it blew up neighborhoods, businesses, warehouses -- everything in its path. It looks like a series of bombs went off.
Other areas were badly damaged by the amount of debris dispersed by the winds.

A lady came to Mercy Chefs almost feeling a bit guilty because, while her home was damaged (she lost part of her roof and her property suffered significant damage), many of her neighbors lost everything. Their houses were destroyed and they are now left to pick through the rubble. This woman came to us in hopes that she could take back meals to her neighbors who had suffered so much. We loaded her up with as many meals as she could take. I'm sure she'll be back. We'll be ready with more meals.

+ + We're meeting critical needs right now

As I write, our team is preparing dinner for the folks immediately around our base of operations as well as nine locations in the region that are receiving Mercy Chefs meals. Firehouses. Churches. Community organizations. Sites that are supporting volunteers. An entire network of support is relying on Mercy Chefs hot meals tonight -- and the generosity of friends like you.

We are about to enter the most intense time of our response here in Nashville. Our second mobile kitchen arrives this evening and we'll be setting it up in the hard-hit community of Mt. Juliet where the destruction is unspeakable. 

As our response expands to meet the needs here, I'm asking every Mercy Chefs team member to stand with us and sponsor 10, 20, 50, 100, or more meals -- especially over the next 48 hours. Can I count on your help? Go here to make your tax-deductible gift and help sponsor hot meals for Nashville area tornado victims, first responders and volunteers, while we continue other vital efforts:

If you've already responded with a gift, thank you so much! As the Lord leads, please consider donating again to help us reach more people.

+ + Staring at the face of the need

It is an honor that friends like you make it possible for Mercy Chefs to be here and meet such critical needs. We're serving volunteers who are working long hours and probably expecting a baloney sandwich but instead are getting a hot, chef-prepared meal. There's the church on the other side of town -- already running out of resources -- that can call us and get 150 meals.

In the heart of the devastation we are here staring at the face of the need and -- because of friends like you -- we are able to fill those gaps and help neighbors who are helping neighbors.

Thank you so much for partnering with us. And thank you for your continued prayers for the people of Nashville and surrounding communities. They need our prayers and our practical help in an urgent way right now.

Thanks and God bless you!

Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs

P.S. This is why we're here: to feed body and soul. And strengthen our brothers and sisters here in Tennessee. So that somehow in the midst of such terrible destruction, the healing process can begin -- often over a hot meal prepared in love. Thanks for standing with us!