José Andrés, a Spanish American chef, restaurateur and philanthropist, has set up mobile kitchens to provide hot meals for Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion.
“People of the World… Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack,” Andrés, 52, captioned a video on Twitter Friday. “We must come together as a force for good!”
Andrés, who is on the ground in Poland with his not-for-profit organization, World Central Kitchen (WCK), added that he’s “committing support” from the $100 million Jeff Bezos grant he won in 2021 for his humanitarian work.
In the clip, Andrés described how volunteers and communities are coming together to help Ukrainian refugees.
“We see that the international Red Cross is putting together shelters,” he said. “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.”
On Sunday, Andrés posted footage of himself bundled up and serving dinner at the Ukrainian border. At that site alone, Andrés estimated that WCK had served more than 8,000 meals. Offerings have included soup, hot chicken stew and apple pie.
“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,” the humanitarian told his more than 1 million Twitter followers.
WCK said it provided 4,000 meals in 18 hours to people in Medyka, Poland.
At the Rava-Ruska and Shehyni border crossings between Ukraine and Poland, WCK is partnering with Caritas nuns to serve food to refugees.
Andrés said that he and WCK will enter Ukraine as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, they are partnering with restaurants inside the war-torn country.
“This is Chef Aleksander Yourz...his team at Yourz Space Bistro cooked 1,000 meals today for residents stuck in Odessa & Ukranians defending the city,” Andrés tweeted Sunday.
Last week, a freelance journalist in the capital city of Kyiv tweeted photos of empty grocery store shelves.
“Never have I ever seen anything like that in Kyiv,” Tanya Kozyreva wrote. “Triggers the worst possible scenario in my head. Famine is something Ukraine had experienced twice already.”
Andrés founded WCK in 2010, after a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, and has been busy ever since. He was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2019.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in 2021, Andrés and WCK provided free meals to local residents in New Orleans. That same year, Andrés returned to Haiti with WCK feeding people impacted by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake.
How World Central Kitchen is feeding Ukrainians fleeing Russian invasionFeb. 28, 202202:56
“Food cannot wait,” Andrés told TODAY meteorologist Al Roker after Hurricane Ida. “People must eat today, not next week, not next month.”
Andrés and his organization also spent time in Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, delivering food in areas of the U.S. territory where families didn't have access to any fresh food or meals.
Andrés also stepped in after the U.S. Capitol attack in 2021, delivering food to law enforcement officers and first responders.
In addition to working with WCK to feed those most impacted by the pandemic around the world, Andrés also turned his New York City and Washington, D.C. restaurants into takeaway kitchens in 2020. While the meals cost $10, diners were encouraged to pay what they could afford.
An earlier version of this article was first published on Today.com.
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