Jose Andres Ukraine - © dc.eater.com

World Central Kitchen: Feeding Ukraine In A Perilous Time

World Central Kitchen is an international volunteer organization that steps up when disaster strikes, to feed those caught in the middle. They have been in Ukraine for weeks already, preparing and delivering meals and grocery baskets to tens of thousands in dozens of cities and towns…

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So as a chef, it was with an especially heavy heart that I heard this morning a WCK field kitchen in Kharkiv was among the casualties of the week-long bombardment of that city by Russian missiles. Four WCK volunteers were injured, but none was killed.”The work doesn’t stop!” WCK CEO Nate Mook tweeted yesterday, “Today, the restaurant team is moving all food products & non-damaged equipment to another kitchen location in Kharkiv. The injured staff are doing well—and all the team here wants to continue cooking. Truly in awe at the bravery of our @WCKitchen partners!”

WKC founder, world renowned chef José Andrés (see photo, top of page), who is on the scene in Ukraine, tweeted, “To everyone caring and sending good wishes to the team in Kharkiv, thank you, the injured are fine, and everyone is ready and willing to start cooking in another location. #FoodFighters @WCKitchen. All our friends are TRUE heroes! Many ways to fight, we do it with food!”

A massive response

WCK has organized a truly massive response to the need in Ukraine, as this infographic provided by the group illustrates:

Ukraine Infographic - © 2022 World Central Kitchen

The kitchen in Kharkiv destroyed by the Russian missile strike was, in fact, just a small cog on a big wheel. And that’s a good thing. As WCK CEO Mook says, the work goes on.

A monumental challenge

Ukraine is a nation of a little over 41 million (excluding Crimea), and many of those millions, primarily in the central and eastern parts of the country, have been displaced by the war. It’s estimated that almost 5 million Ukrainians – mainly women and children – have fled their homeland, becoming refugees.

As if the challenge, to feed those who remain at home but homeless, isn’t already great enough, we hear that retreating Russian troops have been ransacking homes and business, stealing everything that’s not nailed down. Some would say their need is almost as great as the Ukrainians: I saw on CNN yesterday that the Ukrainian armed forces have captured Russian field rations with expiry dates of 2013 and 2015. No wonder the morale of the Russian forces is reported to be deteriorating. In terms of the war, that’s a good thing for the Ukrainian side. In human terms, it’s Vlad Putin making his own people suffer as much as the ‘enemy’. But the Russian troops aren’t our problem, much less that of WCK.

How you can help

If you feel moved to help the WCK relief effort for Ukrainians affected by the war, you can contribute directly to the cause at the WCK donation page. Please give it some serious thought. If we all give a little it can mean a lot!

~ Maggie J.

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