PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — As people in New York’s Long Island and southern parts of New England prepare for heavy winds and rain from now-tropical storm Henri, one Portsmouth based organization is packing it all up to come and lend a helping hand.

“We made the decision yesterday to go ahead and start moving equipment North today. We’ll overnight just North of Philadelphia and we’ll pick our final location tomorrow,” said LeBlanc.

Mercy Chefs is heading North 3 trucks deep, including their mobile command center and kitchen.
The nonprofits’ founder, Gary LeBlanc, says they’ll pick up a refrigerated truck on the way and load it with groceries to serve their first meals tomorrow night.

“We’re expecting the biggest challenge is going to be widespread on lasting power outages and that’s where mercy chefs will come in,” he said.

8 Mercy Chefs team members will be going on this deployment. Some of the others already deployed to Susanville California last week to help as the Dixie fire spreads.

“We’re also in the process of starting another shelter feeding back in Redding as the fires continue more and more people are having to evacuate,” explained LeBlanc.

When it comes to Tropical Storm Henri, LeBlanc says they anticipate being out there 7 to 10 days or depending on when the power starts coming back on.

“We think amazing things happen when you’re able to sit over a shared plate of food with someone who’s just lost everything,” said LeBlanc.