Mercy Chefs feed first responders at Surfside

As the Surfside community shifts to recovery for some, the work is just beginning.

First responders are working to recover loved ones bodies in the rubble after the end of a 2-week search for survivors at the site of the former Champlain Towers South condo.

The death toll reached 64 on Thursday and 76 people are still considered missing.

As part two of the mission begins, WINK News spoke to the people fueling the recovery effort.

Just a short walk away from the collapsed tower there’s a tiny church kitchen.

Inside are the Mercy Chefs, the men and women who proudly feed first responders. The mission of the Mercy Chefs is to offer a hot meal and a listening ear.

“We try not to dwell on the tragedy that we’re working with, we try not to but it’s hard,” said Chef Lynn Krause, with Mercy Chefs. “Sometimes you hear tragic things. So, you go into prayer.”

The faith-based organization feeds the body and also the soul.

They never push prayer on the people who search the pile.

“We’re always there, always will pray for them and they’ll just come over will you pray for me today? will you pray over my team today,” said Gary LeBlanc, Mercy Chefs Founder & CEO.

That love and dedication meant so much to the search and rescue teams.

“Three days in, they kind of asked, they came they prayed with us, we forged a great friendship, and when I say ‘cooked’ they were chef-type meals,” said Shane Sibert, with Task Force 6. “So if we go anywhere else we’re calling them up we want them to go out the door with us.”

Wednesday a moment of silence followed by a simple Our Father was said after the rescue search became a recovery.

“When you see grown men and women that have been doing this for 20 years sit down and just cover their face, it just touches our team,” LeBlanc said.

Sibert also spoke to us more about the shift from rescue to recovery.

Watch the video above for the full story.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
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