Mercy Chefs – mind boggling how much food these teams dish out each day at no cost to the families, emergency workers, and volunteers – anyone who needs a hot meal. The stories Chef Gary LeBlanc and team share are heart-wrenching, yet inspiring. Mercy Chefs team up with local churches in the hardest hit areas when disaster strikes. Right now, they have three full crews cooking and feeding those in need in Friendswood, TX, Rockport, TX, and Bonita Springs, FL. Their motto? “Feeding Body and Soul” and they do just that with hard work, love, and donations.
Each month, on a Monday evening, Sherry (my friend) and I host Women of Faith and Friendship – an eclectic group of ladies from age 18 to who knows – to sit down for a nutritious home cooked meal and share in conversation. Sherry and I give a five minute devotional, and we say Grace over the food. The remaining time is spent sharing a wholesome meal with great people.
We pass around the “Jar O’Conversation” for each lady to pick a question. This year, I used 365 questions to ask yourself throughout the year, printed them out, cut into strips, folded each, and load them in the big jar. When the ladies dig out a question, they ask it of their neighbor next to them. Sometimes the whole group answers each one, and sometimes the organic conversation is so great, there’s no need for the pre-printed questions – God shows up in the conversations either way.
We wind down the dinner and provide “to go” containers so those attending can take meals home to their kids, husbands, and have one for lunch the next day. It is rare we have any leftovers. The dinner cuisine is usually themed, next month we will have Tailgate Food in honor of football season – can’t wait! Neither can the ladies (and their husbands and kids).
There is something about sharing a meal, sitting together, and enjoying the company with others – it brings a sense of love, caring, and friendship – at least that’s what we experienced with our dinners. As Chef Gary LeBlanc of Mercy Chef shares about their mission of providing nutritious meals to those in need, “When people share a meal together, a personal connection is formed on the most basic level and serves as a reminder of our shared humanity.” Our missions are the same – we aim to give comfort, show others the Love shown to us, and nourish the body and soul – all by sharing a meal.
Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown
hospitality to angels without knowing it.
~Hebrews 13:1-2 NIV