A ministry of volunteer chefs is working in Guatemala to feed victims, search and rescue teams, medical teams and volunteers following a deadly volcanic eruption.
The “Volcano of Fire” exploded on June 4 blanketing nearby villages with thick layers of ash and killing hundreds people.
Mercy Chefs ministry has set up a mobile kitchen at ground zero to provide water and fresh meals to those in need. The kitchens are self-sustaining, able to run in areas without power and are even able to purify their own water.
In an Instagram post, Chef Gary LeBlanc provided an update alongside Sofia Letona, volunteer coordinator for Antigua al Rescate. LeBlanc said teams will be setting up shop indefinitely and working to establish permanent kitchens while teaching Guatemalan volunteers how to cook and run operations. He said the area is in “incredible need.”
The pair also said they believe the death toll is “much higher” than the original reports of 114.
A Facebook post reads, “As entire towns and villages were covered in lava, our contacts here on the ground say that the death toll will be closer to 3,000 people. Thousands are still missing, and most will never be found.”
In the video update, Letona said, “Because of the small community there was no real registry of how many people there are there but we know it’s thousands with probably only 10 percent coming out alive.”
In addition to emergency response, volunteers are ministering to the children and their families who were forced to evacuate and left without a home after the eruption.
LeBlanc passed out bubbles, frisbees, clothing and medicine to a local shelter while another volunteer chef reminded the children “how unique and important each of them are in God’s eyes and that he has a plan for their lives.”
An Instagram post reads, “Even in the midst of the darkest times, God is moving! Praise the Lord!”
Mercy Chefs continues to ask for prayers as they work “feeding body and soul.”