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Claremore woman cooks hot meals for South Florida search crews

Mercy Chefs
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 07:54:04-04

Search and rescue crews in Surfside, Florida work around the clock to account for more than 100 people still missing from a condominium collapse that has killed at least 18 people.

"They know that time is of the essence," Lisa Saylor said. "The calm around this area is very somber."

Saylor is the Director of Disaster Relief for Mercy Chefs. The nonprofit organization deploys to natural disasters and national emergencies around the world to cook fresh meals for victims, volunteers, and first responders.

"I couldn't be more honored and grateful to be a part of something that's so much bigger than I am," she said.

The Claremore, Oklahoma native first joined the effort after she drove two hours to Moore, Oklahoma to help aid families recovering in the wreckage of 2013's F5 tornado. After a day's work, she was offered a hot tray of nutritious, comforting food from a Mercy Chef.

"It was pork tenderloin and asparagus and freshly-made mashed potatoes and I was like, ‘Okay, this is what I want to do,'" Saylor said.

Eight years later, Saylor is leading her kitchen staff at a base camp for the Florida search and rescue teams, turning out appetizing breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for first responders drudging through rubble on 12-hour shifts - energizing them to recover and return the lost loved ones to their families.

"We say all the time that something amazing happens over a shared meal," Saylor said.


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