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Mercy Chefs return after serving meals to Hurricane Ida victims

Mercy Chefs spent two weeks in Southeast Louisiana, serving over 200,000 meals.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Mercy Chefs Founder Gary LeBlanc said his teams are almost home after serving Hurricane Ida victims in Louisiana for two weeks. He said this trip brought back many emotions.

"To be back in Louisiana on the 16th anniversary of Katrina was," LeBlanc said. "It was a lot of triggers in that for me."

LeBlanc started the organization after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005. He says this storm brought unique challenges.

"There was a lot of flooding a lot of wind damage but the power outages in a major U.S. city and all of the surrounding areas was very unique for us this time," he said.

Lack of power didn't stop volunteers from helping. They served more than 200,000 meals to hurricane victims in 17 different locations, hitting a record for the organization.

"We went past anything that we had ever done before," he said.

As the power returned and many other businesses began to turn the lights on, he says it was time for Mercy Chefs to pack up. Mercy Chefs served the last meal Wednesday night but LeBlanc says their efforts aren't over.

"We're already watching the additional storms out in the Atlantic and we have a little bit of a concern that we have not seen the worst of this hurricane season," he said.

For more information about Mercy Chefs, you can visit its website.

Editor's note: The video above is on file from Sept. 10, 2021.