PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth-based organization Mercy Chefs will be serving meals to residents affected by the destructive tornado that hit Rolling Fork on Friday night in Mississippi.

The disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that serves chef-prepared meals in national emergencies and natural disasters says they will serve meals and water daily in Rolling Fork.

10 On Your Side spoke with Mercy Chefs Director of Church Partnerships, Joel Cauley, on the ground Monday afternoon. He said they had already served 500 meals on Sunday and were prepared to serve 2,500 to 3,000 a day and will increase meal counts as needed. 

Monday morning they found a group of power line workers who hadn’t eaten in a day. They fed them and made a special meal for an emergency operations center worker with severe food allergies. “That’s the heart of mercy chef to feed body and soul so we try to understand that they’re hurting but they still have to eat and we don’t want them to do without,” Cauley said.

The team has traveled to the area with a mobile kitchen, refrigerated truck and supporting vehicles. additionally, Mercy Chefs team members will deliver meals to impacted individuals throughout the area. 

The tornado killed 25 and left dozens injured in Mississippi. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a briefing to emergency managers Monday that preliminary assessments show 313 structures in Mississippi were destroyed and more than 1,000 structures were affected in some way.

President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Mississippi early Sunday, making federal funding available to hardest-hit areas.

Mercy Chefs volunteers say the stories they are hearing are heartbreaking and inspiring. Cauley recalled a man who told him he was sitting in his recliner when the tornado hit. “The only thing standing in his home was him and that recliner and I said, ‘Buddy, you must have work still to do’, and he said, ‘I’m here to serve.’ and even after the loss of everything he’s out helping distribute meals now.”

To support Mercy Chefs in its current relief efforts, CLICK HERE

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