Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs delivering meals to hospital workers


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The people at Mercy Chefs want to make sure that our healthcare heroes know they are appreciated. They’ve been providing meals throughout the duration of the pandemic. This week, they had a special focus on hospitals, delivering more than 1,000 meals in a week.

“Feeding Body and Soul” is the mission of Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs.

“Mercy Chefs is an international humanitarian organization that does food,” said founder and CEO Gary LeBlanc.

The nonprofit has been helping people since 2006.

Of course, that includes people in Hampton Roads, especially during the pandemic.

“Here in Hampton Roads, we did over 200,000 meals that went to shut-ins, at-risk children, and folks that just couldn’t get out any other way, especially with the seniors, so we just poured into the local community as much as we could,” said LeBlanc.

This week, the group stepped it up again, focusing on hospitals. LeBlanc says it started with a request from another group called “The Pantry Box Project.”

LeBlanc said, “These are two nurses that just saw their fellow front-line [workers] struggling to eat or snack during the overnight shifts.”

They wanted to provide holiday meals to healthcare workers. Mercy Chefs helped out, but didn’t stop there.

“We think these folks really need to know that they are supported and appreciated and loved by the community,” said LeBlanc. “And so Mercy Chefs, we do that with a shared meal and we think amazing things happen with a shared meal.”

This week, Mercy Chefs volunteers delivered more than 1,000 meals to hospitals on the Southside.

“The folks in the emergency rooms and in the COVID wards have been under so much pressure,” LeBlanc said. “If just for five minutes over a meal, they’re able to have a sense of normalcy, then that’s been a tremendous thing.”

Their final stop of the week is Friday evening at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth.

LeBlanc says their goal is to deliver food to hospitals on the Virginia Peninsula next week. He wants to keep this going as long as it’s needed.

To do that, they will need donations and volunteers. Visit their website for more information.

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