Virginia-based nonprofit delivers almost 20M chef-created meals to communities affected by pure disasters

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Chef Gary LeBlanc and his staff at Mercy Cooks have devoted their lives to feeding survivors, volunteers and first responders after a pure catastrophe strikes. 

For 20 years, LeBlanc had spent numerous days working in high-end resorts across the nation. However when Katrina slammed his hometown of New Orleans in 2005, every part modified. 

Mercy Cooks helps to feed survivors, first responders and volunteers after a pure catastrophe strikes. 
(Mercy Cooks)

He felt it was vital to assist after seeing individuals he knew stranded on bridges ready to get rescued. Nonetheless, throughout his volunteering, LeBlanc was shocked by the meals being served to individuals in want. 

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“There have been individuals working very exhausting and doing the easiest, however I did not see sanitation or meals security,” LeBlanc instructed Fox News. “I did not see professionalism, I did not see ardour. I did not see love.” 

He tried to attach his buddies within the meals business with nonprofits so individuals in catastrophe zones might get entry to raised meals. He shortly realized, although, that lots of the organizations did not wish to become involved. 

They stated it was too exhausting. It could take an excessive amount of cash,” LeBlanc recalled. “A few them even stated, ‘We raised loads of cash doing dangerous meals. Why would we wish to do good meals?'”

Mercy Chefs was developed in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Mercy Cooks was developed within the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
(Mercy Cooks)

They instructed him he was “on a idiot’s errand.” Nonetheless, LeBlanc did not see it that manner. As an alternative, he developed his personal faith-based nonprofit, Mercy Cooks, to tackle the duty. 

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For the final 16 years, LeBlanc and his staff at Mercy Cooks have traveled to greater than 150 catastrophe zones in 25 states and 9 international locations. Inside that point, the group, which is predicated out of Portsmouth, Virginia, has served upward of 20 million meals by way of cell and neighborhood kitchens. 

The refrigerated trailers are located across the nation, so groups {of professional} cooks can “reply very quickly to a name for help,” he stated. 

There are cell trailers in Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, California, Georgia and Virginia which have the flexibility to serve up wherever from 2,500 to fifteen,000 freshly cooked meals every single day. 

For the last 16 years, chef Gary LeBlanc and his team at Mercy Chefs have traveled to more than 150 disaster zones in 25 states and nine countries.

For the final 16 years, chef Gary LeBlanc and his staff at Mercy Cooks have traveled to greater than 150 catastrophe zones in 25 states and 9 international locations.
(Mercy Cooks)

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Though the meals are all chef-prepared, the group additionally depends on as many 80 native volunteers every single day to help the staff. 

Mercy Cooks additionally has neighborhood kitchens in Portsmouth and Nashville which might be used to assist “like-minded organizations to additional their mission by offering meals service in underserved communities throughout the nation.” 

Mercy Chefs has refrigerated trailers situated around the nation, so teams of professional chefs can "respond very rapidly to a call for assistance." 

Mercy Cooks has refrigerated trailers located across the nation, so groups {of professional} cooks can “reply very quickly to a name for help.” 
(Mercy Cooks)

Most not too long ago, the group arrange store at a center faculty in Kentucky as a part of its long-term restoration efforts to help residents after tornadoes ripped by way of the state in December. Since then, the staff has served over 43,000 meals to shelters in counties which might be housing victims. 

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To at the present time, LeBlanc says his staff continues to do what they do finest: “put together simply lovely meals and really excessive portions.” 

Mercy Chefs, based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, has served upward of 20 million meals through mobile and community kitchens.

Mercy Cooks, based mostly out of Portsmouth, Virginia, has served upward of 20 million meals by way of cell and neighborhood kitchens.
(Mercy Cooks)

Regardless of the group’s resounding success, LeBlanc would not take any of the credit score. 

“That is larger than me and that is higher than me,” he stated. “And I could not have imagined this 15 years in the past. That is actually that is an unimaginable factor … it is actually taking up a lifetime of its personal.”