Mercy Chefs, a Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that serves chef-prepared meals in national emergencies and natural disasters, has deployed to Live Oak, Florida to provide relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Idalia.
With a fleet of kitchens, support vehicles and nearly two dozen chefs and team members, Mercy Chefs will work with local partners and the Emergency Operations Center of Florida as a primary meal provider for the state.
The nonprofit will serve multiple meals each day, starting with breakfast on Thursday, Aug. 31, to community members, first responders and volunteers. The team will prepare, serve and deliver meals from Suwannee High School, located at 1314 Pine Ave SW, Live Oak, FL 32064.
“Our hearts are with those impacted by Hurricane Idalia, and we’re ready to show individuals hope in the form of a meal,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder and CEO of Mercy Chefs. “We feel fortunate that our warehouse in Tanner, Alabama allows us to respond to disasters quickly and meet the needs of the community. Our mission is to ‘just go feed people,’ and that’s what we plan to do in Florida.”
Mercy Chefs begins its response in Florida as the organization shifts to provide long-term relief in Maui following devastating wildfires. The team is providing financial support to local partners who continue to serve hot meals and distribute grocery boxes, and Mercy Chefs will build a commercial kitchen on Maui to provide continued relief.
Mercy Chefs has served 25 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.
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 25 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