José Andrés’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen (WCK) is now in Poland, Romania, and Moldova feeding “hot, nourishing meals” to tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees coming across the border at all hours. The aid group says it is also working with restaurants in Odessa and Lviv, two cities in Ukraine, to feed those who remain there.
The WCK most recently arrived in Moldova and began serving chicken over plates of pasta, fresh bread from local restaurants, and tomato salad. The nonprofit group is heading to Slovakia and Hungary as well to find out how to support refugees arriving from Ukraine.
José Andrés announced that he and WCK were headed to Poland to find ways they can help Ukrainian people confronting the Russian invasion last week on Twitter.
Once comments flooded in, some asking how to earmark donated funds specifically for Ukraine aid and others complimenting the chef and humanitarian on his dedication to helping those in need, Andrés followed up his tweet, saying, “Wait until we see what @WCKitchen can do! With boots on the ground we will learn more about what and how we will help! But if we are needed we will be there!”
People of the World…Reporting from the Ukraine border! This is one of the places @WCKitchen has hot meals. It is below freezing tonight & I am meeting so many refugees, families who are escaping & don’t know what’s next…We will do our best not to let them down! #ChefsForUkraine pic.twitter.com/YiEemUfLlC— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 28, 2022
The United Nations estimates that about 500,000 Ukrainians have already been displaced as a result of the Russian invasion. Poland alone is planning to receive up to 1 million Ukrainians. Ukrainian refugees will need food, clothing, shelter, and possibly “formal pathways to legal status,” education, and healthcare, among many other needs as well, according to Vox.
Andrés started WCK in 2010 after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti. It has grown into a massive operation providing “meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions,” according to the WCK website. WCF has distributed over 60 million fresh meals to people in need after natural and social disasters, such as hurricanes in Puerto Rico, New Orleans, and the Carolinas; earthquakes in Haiti, Mexico, and Indonesia; the Nashville tornados, quarantined cruise passengers, health care workers in the face of COVID-19, D.C. police officers during the January 6, 2021 siege, and many others.
Director Ron Howard’s We Feed People documentary about WCK’s work debuts at SXSW in Austin on March 19.
Updated 2/28/2022 with current information regarding the number of refugees and how WCK is helping.