Culinary Compassion

By Janae Hudson

Natural disasters reshape lives in an instant, leaving communities vulnerable and in need of support. When a tornado swept through my hometown, Moss Point, Mississippi on June 19, our community felt the fear, distress and desperation that often comes with rebuilding. However, amidst the rubble, Moss Point felt the love from people near and far.  Organizations donated food, supplies and other necessities to the city to help ease the uncertainty. One radiant example of an organization that helped bring positivity and resources to my community was Mercy Chefs. This extraordinary organization has transformed food into a means of unity, hope and healing during a disaster.

The empathy and compassion surrounding Mercy Chef’s mission is moving. Whether responding to natural disasters, medical crises, or community hardships, Mercy Chefs aims to provide quality meals that satisfy the body while uplifting the mind and spirit. Their skilled team of chefs combines their culinary expertise with a genuine passion for helping others, resulting in meals that are not just meant for survival, but a source of comfort. When disaster strikes, they establish mobile kitchens and swiftly work to create a sense of normalcy for residents.

Mercy Chef originated after one of the most devastating natural disasters in history: Hurricane Katrina. Owners, Chef Gary LeBlanc and his wife Ann sought to restore balance in their community in the hurricane’s wake. As a New Orleans native, Gary felt compelled to be a solution to his home’s devastation, which led to the creation of Mercy Chefs in 2006. After witnessing how a hot meal could uplift others, the LeBlancs made Mercy Chefs their way of empowering communities. Since 2006, Mercy Chefs has served nearly 25 million meals to individuals and communities facing adversity globally. From Moss Point to Honduras, Mercy Chefs has relentlessly shown compassion and grace to those during their time of need. As Mercy Chefs continues to serve, uplift, and heal, it stands as a shining example of the incredible change that can be sparked by a simple act of kindness and dedication from those who answer the call to serve. Learn more about Chef Gary and the Mercy Chef’s visit to Moss Point here.