Portsmouth-based nonprofit serves thousands of meals to Hurricane Laura victims

Posted at 3:46 PM, Sep 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-01 18:17:02-04

LAKE CHARLES, La. - Since Saturday, Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs has passed out thousands of meals to people in hard-hit Louisiana.

They estimate they've distributed about 20,000 meals so far.

The nonprofit is set up in Lake Charles and is also sending food to nearby communities.

Co-founder Ann LeBlanc says people are lining up to get the food.

"People cry receiving just a cold bottle of water because it's so hot," Leblanc said.

The heat is just one of the obstacles they're dealing with.

Another - not enough volunteers.

Normally they rely on people in the community to help, but LeBlanc says most people in the area have their hands full already.

The closest communities that weren't impacted are an hour or two away.

"It has been so badly damaged," LeBlanc said, "five of the six water plants were destroyed....the infrastructure is gone, and so the ability to rebuild is really daunting."

LeBlanc says they'll probably be there for at least three weeks but may also need to stay on a more long-term basis.