This morning starts our busiest and most important week here in Panama City.

We'll serve about 3,500 meals each and every day as we take over a program that is providing hot meals to hundreds of families while expanding our outreach to potentially thousands of needy schoolchildren. This is in addition to providing hot meals for volunteers who are here to help with the cleanup.

And the cleanup job is immense! Massive piles of debris... Homes still covered in tarps... Yards that have never been cleared from the storm.

+ + Diana's story

Over the weekend, I met Diana. She approached me to see if I was "that Mercy Chefs guy." She wanted to tell me that Mercy Chefs was a godsend... that she probably wouldn't have made it through without the meals and hugs from Mercy Chefs.

Diana remembers that morning all-too well just after the storm hit when she had broken down as she surveyed what little remained of her home. No hope. No future. It was as if she was drowning in a sea of disaster, without a lifeline. She had completely lost hope. Then she wandered over to where Mercy Chefs was serving meals. As she approached the mobile kitchen, our Chef Lisa saw her and asked a simple question: "Do you need a hug?" Diana told me that all she could do was collapse into Lisa's arms and weep.

Chef Lisa continued to stay in contact with Diana, who told me she really doesn't think she would have made it through without that first "lifeline" of hope and the ongoing support from Mercy Chefs. Diana's family has since combined homes with other family members and is continuing in the process of recovery. 

+ + 3,500 "Lifelines" Today!

A whole family that was on the verge of going down has clung to the small lifeline we offered to them. And there are so many more here who need a lifeline. Mercy Chefs is doing all we can. We'll serve 3,500 meals today -- 3,500 "lifelines" of hope -- and I want to do even more. But we can only serve as many meals and offer as many lifelines as your generosity provides.

This is an important week. Simply put, the situation is urgent, and we need your help!

Will you stand with us as we serve 3,500 meals today and each day this week to disaster victims and volunteers helping with the recovery here in Florida and continue other vital efforts? Please go here to make your tax-deductible contribution:

The generosity of friends like you made a crucial difference in Diana's life. Your prayers and support TODAY will help us extend a lifeline of hope to thousands more here in Panama City.

Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your financial partnership. And God bless!

Gary LeBlanc, Founder
Mercy Chefs

P.S. Based on our increased meal output, we are now expecting to serve the TWO-MILLIONTH MEAL in Mercy Chefs' history some time tomorrow, probably for dinner. This is an amazing milestone, and each meal has been made possible by the generosity of friends like you. Please be watching for a special message from me and an opportunity to join that event LIVE through Facebook! Thanks so much for your continued partnership!

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