Gary LeBlanc of Mercy Chefs -- Grassfire's disaster relief partner -- says they have seen LONG LINES of hurricane victims in Pensacola needing help (see below).
They served 5,000 meals yesterday and will likely exceed that today. I was hoping the Grassfire team would help sponsor 2,000 meals this weekend but we are far short of that goal.
Go here to make a tax-deductible gift to help Hurricane Sally victims, and see below for more details from Gary.
Steve Elliott, Grassfire
P.S. My family is sponsoring 40 meals. Perhaps you can sponsor 12 meals ($30), 20 meals ($50), or even 40 ($100). Go here:
From: Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs
Subject: Fwd: HUNDREDS lining up for meals; need help
Date: September 29, 2020 at 7:42:17 PM EDTTo: Steve Elliott
The lines of people needing meals never stopped for SIX STRAIGHT HOURS today. Please see below, and help by sponsoring meals this weekend. --Gary
We need help.
The need here is FAR BEYOND WHAT WE EXPECTED -- and the lines of cars and people walking up for hot meals has been almost overwhelming.
+ + Cars lined up a mile and a half; people waiting SIX BLOCKS!
All day, cars were lining up for a mile and a half. But what shocked our team were the walk-ups. From the first moment we started serving meals at 11am, we had block after block of people walking up, waiting patiently in line. The line stretched for SIX CITY BLOCKS at the peak of lunch, but in reality, LUNCH NEVER STOPPED!
We served meals NON-STOP from 11am to 5pm and the people never stopped coming.
At first, we thought we would serve about 800 meals for lunch. As I noted, lunch never ended. We're finishing the day at around 5,000 meals. We brought two 26-foot refrigerated box trucks full of food and we still needed to go buy out all the chicken and other supplies at a nearby Sam's Club. The need is that great.
+ + "Where's the help?"
Since the federal government has not yet declared this a disaster, the traditional FEMA and Red Cross support hasn't arrived.
I spoke with a woman whose life has been hit by the full force of this storm. She lives with her elderly mother, and their home was flooded. The carpet is still soaked and mold is already starting to become a problem. But they have no way out because her car was ruined -- flooded up to the door handles. It's a total loss. We took them meals, water, hygiene supplies and other necessities.
One man who walked to our location for meals told us that a tree had fallen directly on the bedroom of his home. He could have died. The tree is still there. "Is there any help?" We're working to mobilize some volunteers to help get that tree off his house.
For many people here, Mercy Chefs' meals today were the first and only help they've received! And I know as word spreads, the lines will be even longer tomorrow.
Again, I NEED HELP right now to meet this need.
Would you sponsor 10, 20, 50, 100, or even 500 meals this weekend? We really need help in an urgent way. Go here to make your tax-deductible gift directly to Mercy Chefs to help provide hot meals to hurricane victims here in Pensacola:
We're bringing in another mobile kitchen tomorrow so we can prepare even more meals because we are already at capacity. I can see that we are going to run out of food very quickly so I need to place another very large order with our supplier immediately.
This is heartbreaking. I can't even describe the pain and hurt I see on the faces here. Many of these folks faced tough times BEFORE the hurricane hit and BEFORE the coronavirus crisis. They have faced two devastating blows this year.
Right now, Mercy Chefs is truly a LIFELINE of support.
And please pray!
Thanks in advance, and God bless,
Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs