PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Mercy Chefs, an organization serving prepared meals to victims and first responders of natural disasters, announced their new vice president of community kitchens and outreach on Monday.
Thomas Yager, who spent the last decade as TASTE Unlimited’s vice president of culinary operations and executive chef, was hired for the position. Before TASTE, he spent four years as a sous chef at The Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach.
“I’ve been aware of the great work of Mercy Chefs for a long time, and it’s an honor to be taking this role,” Yager said. “There are so many opportunities to reach people in need, and I was drawn to Mercy Chefs’ mission to just go feed people.”
In his new role, Yager will lead the nonprofit’s community kitchens and community outreach programs across the country.
Mercy Chefs currently operates community kitchens in Portsmouth and Panama City, Florida. The group plans to add at least one new location in 2021. Community kitchens allow the Mercy Chefs team to directly serve communities where they are based and respond to emergencies and natural disasters more efficiently.
Based in Portsmouth, the organization has served over 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.
Mercy Chefs was founded in 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when LeBlanc went to New Orleans to volunteer and realized disaster relief could be done better.
Most recently, Mercy Chefs has assisted during Hurricanes Sally, Laura, Hanna, Dorian, Maria, Florence and Michael.
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Read More: Executive chef from TASTE Unlimited enters new role with Portsmouth-based Mercy Chefs