PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Mercy Chefs, a Portsmouth-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization serving meals to victims and first responders in emergencies and natural disasters, reached a milestone this week by serving its 5 millionth meal.
The organization has served nearly 3 million meals in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 1 million meals going to people in need in July alone.
Mercy Chefs served its first million meals over the course of a decade between 2006, when the organization was founded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and 2016.
“To serve a million meals in just one month is just incredible for us,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs. “It’s like a dream realized. When I founded Mercy Chefs in 2006, I never anticipated that level of growth would be possible for an organization we truly built from the ground up. We have a really amazing team – staff, partners, volunteers, vendors – that makes it all possible.”
Many of the meals have been served through coronavirus crisis response distribution locations the organization has set up around the country, and more than 200,000 meals have been served out of Mercy Chefs' community kitchen in Portsmouth, with volunteers from across Hampton Roads supporting the effort.