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Virginia group serves meals to Alabama town devastated by tornado

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Posted at 9:20 AM, Jan 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-31 09:20:34-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. -- A Virginia nonprofit dedicated to serving meals to the victims of natural disasters is once again hard at work.

Mercy Chefs, the Portsmouth-based disaster relief and humanitarian aid organization is serving meals in Fultondale, Alabama, after the devastating tornado that hit the area Monday night.

The nonprofit is preparing meals in a mobile kitchen at the Church of the Highlands Fultondale Campus and will distribute them to first responders, debris removal crews and other volunteers. Volunteers are assessing the damage to see if more widespread community meals will be needed.

The first meals were served during lunchtime on Wednesday, and Mercy Chefs will serve lunch and dinner in the days to come.

As of Thursday, the organization told News 3 meal counts are expected at 2,000 - 2,500 meals per day starting Friday through the weekend. Multiple Mercy Chefs team members will be on site beginning Thursday for the expanded response in Fultondale.

“We know firsthand how devastating disasters can be, and we know Monday’s tornado was a shock to the Fultondale community,” said Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs. “We are fortunate to have great church partners as well as one of our community kitchens in the area to be able to respond quickly. Our thoughts are with the Fultondale community during this difficult time.”

Mercy Chefs has served more than 9.5 million meals since its founding in 2006, including 7 million meals in response to the coronavirus pandemic across the country since mid-March. In July 2020, the organization served its 5 millionth meal.