PINEY FLATS, Tenn. (WJHL)-When disaster strikes, Chef Five Minute Meals in Piney Flats is ready to answer the call-with more than 1 million meals ready to go and be shipped out those in distress.
“We’ve got people on stand by ready for that, we’ve got a back up plan that’s been in the works for about a month now” says production manager Tony Price.
Price says they stay prepared all year long, so they have inventory to move in a moment’s notice.
Founder and CEO Barry Sendel says a warm meal is something that can ease the pain when a natural disaster occurs.
“When you get into a shelter, when you have thousands of other people, everybody gets even more distressed and one thing to keep calmness with a lot of people is to feed them” said Sendel.
Through contracts with FEMA, the Defense Logistics Agency and coastal states from Texas to North Carolina- his meals are the first on the ground when a disaster occurs.
“When it hits, we’ll know and we’ll be ready. They’ll give us a call and we’ll have to release truckloads,” says Sendel.
His MRE style civilian meals heat up within five minutes with a patent protected self-heater- making them ideal for those not near a set-up shelter or kitchen.
“The first responders are going in boats, in trucks and they’re feeding these people, handing out meal kits to them,” said Sendel.
To help keep this big stock up- there are 25 production members that stay on year round, but Sendel says during hurricane season that amount more than triples.
“Last year this time, we were up to 80 and this year we again believe we’ll be back up to 80,” said Sendel.
On Monday night, his factory was quiet, but throughout the week it will be hustling and bustling as his production team will bump up production to 60,000 meals a day.
Sendel says “Now this week, we’re going to get all revved up to start producing that volume.”
Chef Five Minute Meals has a variety of prepared kits that last up to six years.
Sendel and Price say they are in need of more employees to help keep up with production demands. If you would like to be a part of the production line, you can contact the Tony Price at (423) 926-0092.