Team of Professional Chefs have served 10 Million Quality Free Meals to Victims of Disasters & Emergencies

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

Watching on television the devastation that the 2005 Hurricane Katrina caused to New Orleans where he had spent 16 years as a chef, Gary LeBlanc’s heart broke as he watched images of streets he had walked past and people he had worked with for so many years devastated by the natural disaster. 

Determined to help, Gary returned to New Orleans and first volunteered as a cook with local groups aiding the suffering. Even as he volunteered though, there was a nagging thought at the back of his mind.
“Where was my industry? From my town? Feeding my people? I can’t just open a can of green beans and scoop them onto a plate 12 nights in a row.”

American Chef

Frustrated by what he saw, Gary – who had over 35 years of experience in the hospitality industry - launched Mercy Chefs in 2006. Aided by a team of professional cooks, Mercy Chefs began showing up at natural disasters across the nation to serve restaurant quality food to victims and first responders. 

At least, initially it was just a nation. Today, in 2021, the Mercy Chefs have responded to more than 134 disasters across 10 different countries. 

volunteers carrying provisions during pandemic

During the COVID19 pandemic alone, they have provided over 7 million high quality meals, with the help of 10,000 community volunteers. Mercy Chefs also served free food to hospital workers in recent months across various states. This includes transporting industrial power generators and water filtration systems across states to serve clean water.  

chefs serving food
Mercy Chefs providing meals to victims following the 2021 Alabama tornado

“This wasn’t how I intended to spend the rest of my career or the rest of my life. But here I am, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.” 
– Gary Le Blanc.

In February 2021, the disaster relief group hit an astounding milestone – serving 10 million free meals. And to think, it all began with a chef volunteering to serve free meals and not being happy with the quality of food being provided.

Author's note:

Since 2017, every year, I take up the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge and focus on showcasing lovely real-life heroes from around the worldThe aim is to remind you that there is still plenty of good human beings all around you... to inspire you to smile once more.

Want more stories of compassion? 

I have Hundreds of 'Heroes of Kindness' to brighten your day here. Earlier editions can be viewed from the links below:

2017 edition (Articles - 40, Heroes - 67)
2018 edition (Articles - 34, Heroes - 52)
2019 edition (Articles - 31, Heroes - 42)
2020 edition (Articles - 30, Heroes - 64)

The 2020 Edition is also available as a book on Kindle too, if you want it that wayyy! (IndiaUS)

Post a Comment


Let me know what you think.

  1. Wow, this thought of where is my industry, what is it doing in the time of the need will come to those people only, who worship work as god. Another best possible example of humanity

  2. Beautiful series of compassion, kindness and human spirit we desperately need today.

  3. Wonderful idea. This is something that can definitely be replicated in every country to provide a nice warm meal to someone who has probably lost everything.

  4. What a wonderful and inspiring tale once again. I wish it could be be replicated in other places as well.
    Deepika Sharma

  5. So inspiring! Could you compile such stories from our country too? There are moments when I feel so lost and depressed at the plight our nation!

  6. Yes another inspiring and wonderful story. indeed serving food to needful people is such a noble thing. thanks for sharing this inspiring story with us.

  7. Again a heart warming story. I hope these inspiring stories motivate more and more people to practice compassion and empathy and this world be a better place.

  8. surprising , how one act of kindness can snowball into such massive act of serving humanity ! This series of yours is my favorite to believe that life is beautiful, no matter what!

  9. Amazing idea. It would be great if our country has something like this too

Post a Comment