Mercy Chefs, a Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that serves chef-prepared meals in national emergencies and natural disasters, is deploying to Florida in response to Hurricane Ian.
The nonprofit has been preparing all week for a significant response, one that is expected to be the largest in the organization’s history. More than 20 Mercy Chefs team members are in or en route to Florida taking care of the logistics – from grocery shopping to transportation needs – that will come with serving up to 30,000 meals each day to local communities and first responders. The organization is transporting supplies from its new Storehouse in Tanner, Ala., that ensures a more efficient response to Florida and sending three mobile kitchens as it prepares to serve tens of thousands of meals each day to communities in need.
In addition, Mercy Chefs was requested by state officials in Florida to be the primary feeder at the State Emergency Operations Center.
“We’re prepared to respond as quickly as possible with as many meals as we can,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs. “Though we don’t know yet what communities will be struggling the most, we are committed to reaching those most in need after Hurricane Ian makes landfall and providing comfort in the form of a hot meal. We’re in touch with church partners and state officials in Florida to execute our response, and we’re praying for those who have been impacted by this destructive storm.”
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.
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 MercyChefs.com.