Hurricane Relief Volunteer Donates his Time and Talent

Hurricane Relief Volunteer Donates his Time and Talent

ECPI University Makes $1,000 Donation to Honor his Service to Hurricane Relief

When Dane Macan saw the devastation in Texas and Florida, he immediately went to his boss at Sysco Hampton Roads and requested time off. A Food Service Management graduate of Culinary Institute of Virginia (CIV) and current MBA student at ECPI University, he is a longtime volunteer with Mercy Chefs, a faith-based, nonprofit disaster relief organization.

Mercy Chefs’ mission is to serve professionally prepared meals to victims, volunteers, and first responders in national emergencies and natural disasters. Since 2012, Dane and wife Kristin – a CIV faculty member and fellow Mercy Chefs volunteer – have traveled across the country, sharing their time and talent.

This time, Dane was sent to support efforts in Collier County, Florida. “Being a first responder is never easy,” says Dane. “People have lost everything, lack resources, extreme weather…all are factors that feed into a disaster response. Often, we see the media show the desperation in people affected in these areas, but more often people are coming together, building community, and rebuilding.”

[Tweet “Without help from the community, there is no way we could have pulled off the numbers we did.”]

Dane says Florida was no different. When they first arrived, he and his team members began preparations for 3,000 to 4,000 meals. That number quickly exploded to more than 10,000. “Without help from the community, there is no way we could have pulled off the numbers we did,” says Dane. “Many of the volunteers were without power, water, or fuel, but felt called to support the mission of Mercy Chefs to go feed people.

“Meals were enjoyed together, stories were told, support was given, and relationships built. The community really came together to provide assistance to those in need. Obviously, there is a large amount of personal satisfaction and gratification.  After cooking for more than 10,000 people every day, every muscle hurts, mental exhaustion occurs, and you just have nothing left with the exception of a full heart, and that is what keeps the drive going.”

[Tweet “The community really came together to provide assistance to those in need.”]

Dane says experiences like these never fail to put life in perspective. “When I’m having a hard day, or things are not going quite right, I think of the people we work with in those disaster situations and I remind myself that things are not that bad,” he says. “Overall, it is about the people.  My personal comfort can be paused in order to help a fellow person in need. We are called for a bigger purpose. Identify your strengths, and fulfill a need for somebody else. It’s as simple as that.”