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José Andrés and His Nonprofit Pledge to Feed Thousands of Furloughed Employees

World Central Kitchen will set up near the Navy Memorial starting Wednesday

Paradise, California Continues Recovery Efforts From The Devastating Camp Fire
Chef José Andrés has mobilized efforts to feed people in the wake of several disasters, including showing up in California to aid wildfire evacuees last year.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Having already mobilized aid workers to feed people affected by earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires, D.C.-based chef and restaurateur José Andrés announced today that the next mission for his World Central Kitchen would take on the disaster that is the United States federal government.

In a video he shared on his personal Twitter account, Andrés says that his nonprofit organization will set up a working kitchen in D.C. this week to feed a portion of the 800,000 federal employees who are stuck without pay during a partial government shutdown that entered its record-extending 24th day on Monday. According to the Washington Post, almost a quarter of those workers are based in the District, Maryland, and Virginia.

World Central Kitchen later tweeted that it would begin serving daily hot meals from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW starting Wednesday, January 16. Volunteer opportunities can be found by emailing chefsforfeds@wck.org.

President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund a wall at the Mexico border is at the heart of a stalled spending bill, forcing a stalemate between the White House and congress. The crisis hit home on Friday, when furloughed employees received their first batch of pay stubs marked with zeros.

In his Twitter video, Andrés called the shutdown “another type of disaster emergency.” He said World Central Kitchen will set up at the United States Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, a central location between the White House and the U.S. Capitol.

Andrés says World Central Kitchen will provide meals on-site and to-go “for any federal family that needs food.” He hopes that “will be a call to action to our senators and congressman and especially President Trump to make sure we end this moment in the history of America where families are going hungry.”

In November, the Washington Post confirmed that Andrés has been nominated for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The affable chef — whose ThinkFoodGroup runs popular D.C. restaurants such as Jaleo, Zaytinya, and minibar — started World Central Kitchen in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The nonprofit fed more than 3 million people following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, which led Andrés to publish a book about the experience last year.

More recently, World Central Kitchen had fed evacuees from wildfires in California and migrants in Tijuana, Mexico, facing long wait times and poor conditions while awaiting hearings that could grant them asylum in the U.S.

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