Mercy Chefs Named Finalist in the Second Annual Land Rover ‘Defender Service Awards’

Mercy Chefs Submission Video for Defender Service Award:

Public voting open through Nov. 6 on; Mercy Chefs could win SUV and $25,000

Today, Mercy Chefs was named a finalist among the community service organizations category in the Land Rover “Defender Service Awards.” The Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization was recognized for its work serving chef-prepared meals in national emergencies and natural disasters. As a finalist, Mercy Chefs will receive $5,000 from the presenting sponsor, CHASE.

To honor the legacy of Defender vehicles aiding organizations that serve their communities, Land Rover will award a specially outfitted Land Rover Defender 130 SUV to the five winning organizations based on Public Vote to help further their charitable efforts, plus $25,000 from the category sponsor. Public voting opened today and will run through Nov. 6 on Votes can be placed once daily per email address.

Inspired by endless acts of service across the United States and Canada from extraordinary citizens, Land Rover launched the “Defender Service Awards” last year to celebrate U.S.- and Canadian-based charitable organizations that are making a positive impact in their local community.

“We are honored to be recognized as a finalist alongside four other incredible organizations in the community services award category,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs. “Our mission has always been to just go feed people, and the thought of being honored for fulfilling our calling is deeply humbling. We are taking this moment to reflect on every single one of our staff, volunteers and community members who make our mission a reality. We see you, we value you and we appreciate you.”

The winners for all five categories will be announced on Nov. 12 at Destination Defender – a weekend celebration of the Defender lifestyle located in the New York Hudson Valley.

“Our sincere gratitude goes out to the over 800 charitable organizations who submitted entries for this year’s Defender Service Awards,” said Joe Eberhardt, President & CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America. “The 25 finalists captured a special spirit of service, which is part of the fabric of our brand. We look forward to sharing the finalists’ entries with the public and wish them luck.”

Mercy Chefs has served more than 20 million meals since its founding in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when LeBlanc went to New Orleans to volunteer and realized disaster relief could be done better.

For information on the Land Rover “Defender Service Awards,” please visit or follow @LandRoverUSA on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

To support or learn more about Mercy Chefs, visit Follow Mercy Chefs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates on relief efforts.

Mercy Chefs Images: 
Mercy Chefs Press Page


Mercy Chefs is a 501c3 founded in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The organization exists to provide professionally prepared, restaurant-quality meals to victims, volunteers and first responders in natural disasters and national emergencies and partners with existing ministries with food service in underserved communities around the country. Since its founding, Mercy Chefs has served over 20 million meals. In 2020, Mercy Chefs founder Gary LeBlanc was recognized by Southern Living Magazine as a “Hometown Hero,” and Mercy Chefs was named the 2020 Small Business of the Year in the nonprofit category by Inside Business and the Hampton Roads Chamber. In 2015, it received both the Virginia Governor’s Volunteerism Award and the Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Award for its service. For more information, visit