PORTSMOUTH, Va. — As the number of people filing for unemployment benefits reaches a record high, local organizations are stepping in to help people in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mercy Chefs is a disaster relief organization that travels across the world serving restaurant quality meals. The company is based in Portsmouth. Employees and volunteers are making 2,000-3,000 meals a day for children, their families and the elderly across Virginia.
“We hate that we are in this position but we are very happy and proud that we are able to make a difference here in Hampton Roads,” explained Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs' founder.
LeBlanc said volunteers and employees are working hard to make sure people get both hot and frozen meals.
“We have our core team in the kitchen,” he explained. “Then we have our volunteer team packing the meals. We have eight people in the kitchen. We will have two groups a day of ten volunteers and another three or four that are loading.”
The organization partnered with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore as well as senior services. Mercy Chefs is also serving first responders. LeBlanc said as a community, we will get through this pandemic.
“We see that community spirit. We see that fight. There is still fight left in us here in this country and we are fighting hard against this virus,” he said.