Mercy Chefs Serve Up Thanksgiving to Storm Victims

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This year's hurricane season has been a difficult for millions of Americans. That fact has the Mercy Chefs ministry working hard to ease the burden for many who don't have a place to cook or eat this Thanksgiving.

Mercy Chefs' Thanksgiving tradition is to return to an area it served during a crisis earlier in the year.

But this year there was a desperate need for two teams. Volunteers are working in LaPlace, La., an area of St. Johns Parish devasted in August by Hurricane Isaac.  Another team of volunteers headed to Freeport, N.Y., where many are still feeling the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

CBN spoke with Mercy Chefs' Fred Tiess in LaPlace.

"We serve God, and we serve people. And we serve great food," he said, describing the ministry's mission. "And everything else stems off of that."

Debbie Lowe, Mercy Chef's production coordinator, outlined the days ahead.

"On Thanksgiving day the Sheriff's Department, a couple of the high schools are all coming together and they are delivering food to about 1,500 people who can't get here," she said. "They are still stuck where they're at. So, it is a blessing and honor to be able to serve them."

St. John Baptist Parish Sheriff Michael Tregre will help see that those meals are delivered.

"After storms, you hear about being forgotten. You here about nobody is paying attention," he told CBN News. "And it means lot that Mercy Chefs to come back and do this again. It reminds us that we in St. John are not forgotten, even though there have been other tragedies in our country."

Many of the local volunteers are still struggling. Tenika Tassin is one of them.

"I want to share with people that don't have," Tassin told CBN News. "I was fortunate not be affected as much as everybody else. And I just want to help in any way I could."

A simple meal is uniting the entire LaPlace community. At the end of Thanksgiving day, Mercy Chefs will have fed at least 5,000.

Mercy Chefs' Kristen Macan summed up their work.

"Our meals aren't just meals. They are examples of Christ's love," she said. "And so when we hand them out, we are not just handing out food. We are handing out something that is so much bigger."

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Efrem Graham

Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.