Fans of late night TV may recognize celebrity chef José Andrés for his witty repartee and tasty dishes but millions more know him because the World Central Kitchen (WCK) helped make sure they did not go hungry. In 2010 after devastating earthquakes in Haiti, Chef Andrés was on the ground collaborating with local chefs to feed the hungry. His work on that small island nation inspired the creation of his not-for-profit, non-governmental organization based on the belief: Food is a universal human right.
With years of experience and regardless of the conditions – hurricane in Puerto Rico, volcanic eruption in Tonga or the unprovoked war on the people of the Ukraine – the WCK moves with lighting speed to provide food, supplies, and logistical support to restaurant partners and volunteers on the front lines.
When you talk about food and water, people don’t want a solution one week from now, one month from now. The solution has to be now.Chef José Andrés
Within a day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the WCK had set up food distribution centers at border crossings and then began working directly in the war torn cities of Lviv and Kyiv. The WCK news and Twitter feed share regular updates from Ukraine, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Romania and, of particular interest to me, Moldova. A Tweet early this month caught my attention:
March 1 – In addition to meals being served in Poland, Ukraine, and Romania, WCK’s first meals in Moldova were provided to children and families at the Chișinău Airport. Local restaurants served fresh plates of baked chicken over pasta with a tomato salad and bread. Working with local groups, we will be expanding our reach in the country as needed.
And more recent WCK #ChefsForUkraine Tweets:
March 11 – The Carpineni Orphanage in Moldova has suddenly become a shelter for Ukrainian families fleeing home. Housing 100 people, the shelter’s kitchen has relied on donations from the small, surrounding community. Now, WCK is supporting this team to provide fresh meals.
March 11 – To reach Mykolaiv, Ukraine—a city targeted by Russian forces—WCK partner Team Humanity left Moldova before dawn with fruit, baby food & more for families in the city. After distributing items, the team evacuated a group of women & children to safety in Moldova.
March 13 – Inside the Manej Sports Arena in Moldova, hundreds of cots now sit where athletes once practiced. The shelter is housing 600-800 mostly Roma refugees who have fled Ukraine. WCK partner Cafeneaua din Gratiesti is delivering daily meals for families here.