Chef José Andrés Sets Up World Central Kitchen on Ukraine-Poland Border to Feed Refugees
By Miguel A. Melendez
Chef José Andrés says he is "distraught watching Ukraine under attack." And in response, his World Central Kitchen has mobilized to help feed refugees fleeing Ukraine.
The Spanish chef took to social media on Friday to announce that his nonprofit humanitarian relief organization has set up shop on the Ukraine-Poland border, where they're delivering meals to those fleeing the war-torn country. Andrés says it is his hope that they'll soon be in Romania as well. The famous chef also announced that, in addition to the donations his organization receives, he's also committing support from the $100 million Jeff Bezos grant he won in 2021.
"I can tell you one thing -- World Central Kitchen is already there with boots on the ground trying to learn how we can be helping the refugee crisis as people in Ukraine are leaving," said Andrés in a video he posted on Twitter. "We see that the international Red Cross is putting together shelters. We already see that Polish people are already feeding people as they cross the border. We are seeing people in Ukraine taking care of people and doing the best they can under the circumstances."
People of the World…Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack. We must come together as a force for good! @WCKitchen is on Poland border delivering meals tonight—Romania soon. In addition to your donations…I am committing support from the Bezos award to Ukraine.🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/ws0EFl8zLd
“We will try to help obviously with money any group of cooks that are already feeing their people," the chef continued. "We will help make sure that money is not the reason they will not be able to do it."
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Andrés and World Central Kitchen distributed food to families in need. Back in September, he teamed up with DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to deliver more than 35,000 meals from independently-owned local restaurants to support first responders and frontline healthcare workers in more than 30 cities nationwide.
Andrés started his World Central Kitchen following an earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010. He cooked alongside displaced Haitians in a camp, where Andrés said he wound up "getting schooled in how to cook black beans."
He's since deployed the WCK's resources to other parts in the world -- like Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, Beirut following a catastrophic blast that leveled an entire city and Australia, where brushfires ripped through the country.
Andrés is not alone in helping those affected by the Russian attack in Ukraine. Bethenny Frankel's BStrong initiative is also sending 100,000 crisis kits to the region, while also raising money to help those fleeing Ukraine find their way to family living in other parts of the world.