Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs prepares to help Hurricane Laura victims

Mercy Chefs
Posted at 2:42 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 15:31:22-04

A team of volunteers from Hampton Roads is in Louisiana preparing to help those hit hard by Hurricane Laura.

Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs plans to distribute meals from their mobile kitchens in Lake Charles starting Friday.

The non-profit's founder Gary LeBlanc says they are prepared to pass out between 10-15,000 meals per day depending on the need.

There are about ten crew members who will be working with local volunteers.

"We've found over the years that working with local volunteers, neighbors helping neighbors, is the very best way to aid recovery," said LeBlanc, "So with our crew on site we'll be able to multiply that with the local volunteers."

They plan to stay until the power starts to come back on and restaurants reopen.

"We know that that's our signal to begin to prepare to get out of town if there are other services available. You know, we want to aid the community. Giving away free food doesn't really aid the community. That would damage the economy. So there's that fine balance of providing aid and then being responsible to the local community," said LeBlanc.

Mercy Chefs was created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when LeBlanc says he was frustrated by the quality of food being served to people.

Since forming in 2006, they've served more than five million meals.