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Photo of the Day
Photo of the Day
March 4, 2024

Mercy Chefs aiding the world one meal at a time

Volunteers preparing food; off of Mercy Chefs website
Volunteers preparing food; off of Mercy Chefs website

Mercy Chefs is a non-profit organization that focuses on getting hot food to people in need. It was founded in 2006 by Gary LeBlanc and his wife, Anne LeBlanc. They were inspired to start this organization when they were residents of New Orleans when hurricane Katrina hit.

The LeBlancs went through an eye opening experience when going through the natural disaster relief process for Katrina. They said that the food handed out was not up to minimum sanitation standards and that there wasn’t any passion in it. After hurricane Katrina they decided that they wanted to find a way to reach out to people in need and serve them a good, hot meal, founding Mercy Chefs.

Since its founding in 2006, Mercy Chefs has helped with over 150 disasters across 29 states. The non-profit has six self-sustaining mobile kitchens that are strategically placed throughout the nation to be able to respond at a moments notice. These kitchens can run in areas with no power and can purify their own water, meaning they can access places that need support the most.

This non-profit’s main focus is on providing natural disaster relief. That would be after hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes, extreme winter conditions, wildfires, and during national emergencies. Mercy Chefs has even provided help to people who were experiencing the Maui wildfires and hurricane Idalia in Florida.

In 2010, the earthquake in Haiti inspired Mercy Chefs to launch Mercy Chefs Global to respond to disasters around the world. They have aided over 19 countries including Honduras, Israel, Guatemala, the Bahamas, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Ukraine, Honduras, Cuba, and Turkey.

Not only do they help people who are in need after natural disasters, they also provide aid to places with food insecurity and set up community kitchens. When responding to disasters, they not only feed the victims and survivors, but also the first responders and other volunteers helping out.

Chef Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs, says, “something amazing happens over a hot meal.” Mercy Chefs is still growing, and has the capability to produce over 20,000 hot meals a day. If you want to volunteer or support this non-profit you can go to their site and sign up today, and don’t worry, 80% of volunteers are non-chefs!

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About the Contributor
Baily Hacker, Assistant Editor
Baily Hacker is a Sophomore at Powhatan High School and is an assistant editor for the PHS Arrowhead. In Baily's free time she likes baking, drawing, and hanging out with her friends and cats. She lives with her mom, dad, four cats, and sixteen chickens. Baily believes the news is important because so many people rely on it to know what is happening in the world. Her dream college is JMU and she wants to travel the world.

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