The goal? "To restore hope and provide comfort at a time when they need it most."

By Meghan Overdeep
October 17, 2018
Mercy Chefs

From Waffle House to Publix, Southern organizations are stepping up big time to feed their neighbors affected by Hurricane Michael's historic wrath.

Among those who have made their way to hard-hit Panama City, Florida, is Mercy Chefs, a Virginia-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization that serves professionally prepared, restaurant-quality meals in emergencies and natural disasters—the brainchild of Louisiana-born celebrity chef Gary LeBlanc.

Mercy Chefs arrived in the Panama City area last week, poised to feed victims, volunteers and first responders at two main sites: Destiny Worship Center in Panama City Beach and Emerald Coast Fellowship in Lynn Haven. According to a release, additional satellite sites for meal service are set up at locations in downtown Panama City and Northstar Church in Callaway.

Mercy Chefs

The Mercy Chefs team is working out of two mobile kitchens, including the organization's largest mobile kitchen, Mercy 3. The organization has been busy serving as many as 18,000 meals a day, with numbers increasing every day.

"Our team of professional chefs and volunteers have been busy serving restaurant-quality meals since Friday to those in need, hoping to restore their hope and provide comfort at a time when they need it most," LeBlanc said in a release. "The need is so high here in Florida that we've added another main site for meal distribution and two satellite locations for service."

WATCH: How Hurricane Harvey Brought Two Heroic Strangers Together in Texas

Mercy Chefs recently responded to Hurricane Florence, the Carr fires, the Houston floods and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

To support meal service in Florida, go to