Mercy Chefs are sending their love to healthcare workers in Bay County


PANAMA CITY Fla. (WMBB) — Healthcare heroes feel the love from the Bay County community in the form of food, all thanks to Mercy Chefs.

“Oh gosh, I don’t think there are words to explain what this means for the staff,” said Brian Pinelle, the Chief Nursing Officer at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

Pinelle said doctors and nurses tend to patients every day trying to make them better, but some days less successful than others, especially with COVID-19. 

“It’s been a very stressful environment for the staff, and so to know that there are people out there who are so appreciative of the work that we are doing, the work that they are doing,” said Pinelle. “And having this small gesture to say thank you it’s going to mean the world to them. It means the world to me.”

On Wednesday, Mercy Chefs disaster relief responders wanted to do something special. They delivered over 300 meals to the Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center and Ascension Sacred Heart healthcare workers.

“We have such a love and respect for anybody that works on the front lines,” said Mercy Chefs CEO and Founder Gary LeBlanc. “We do it for a week or two when we are on disaster, but these folks have been on disaster for seven or eight months now with absolutely no break, and why they do it, how they do it, is just mind-boggling even to us.”

LeBlanc said they have been in Bay County since Hurricane Michael, and they are planning on staying for a while.

“We’ve never stayed this long in a town after a disaster, but there is something very special about Bay County and the people here,” said LeBlanc. “And our hearts have been stolen, and frankly, I don’t want it back.”

LaBlanc said Mercy Chefs will continue to help health care workers deliver meals at least once or twice a week. The next day they are doing so is February 3.

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