World Central Kitchen
World Central Kitchen (WCK) is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. Founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés, the organization prepared food in Haiti following its devastating earthquake. Its method of operations is to be a first responder and then to collaborate and galvanize solutions with local chefs to solve the problem of hunger, immediately following a disaster.
Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria response
José Andrés emerged as a leader of the disaster relief efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria in 2017. His efforts to provide assistance encountered obstacles from FEMA and government bureaucrats, so instead, "we just started cooking." He organized a grass-roots movement of chefs and volunteers to establish communications, food supplies, and other resources and started serving meals. Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen (WCK) served more than two million meals in the first month after the hurricane. WCK received two short term FEMA contracts and served more meals than the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, but its application for longer-term support was denied. WCK developed resiliency centers on the island, and installed a hydropanel array at a greenhouse in San Juan to provide safe drinking water.
For his efforts in Puerto Rico, Andrés was named the 2018 Humanitarian of the Year by the James Beard Foundation. He wrote a book about the experience called We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time.
2017 – 2019 events
In November 2018, WCK and Andrés teamed up with chefs Guy Fieri, and Tyler Florence, and local Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to bring Thanksgiving dinner to 15,000 Camp Fire survivors in Butte County, California.
In September 2019, WCK and Andrés opened kitchens in The Bahamas to feed people in the wake of Hurricane Dorian. In October they helped in Sonoma County, California, working with local chefs such as Guy Fieri, during the Kincade Fire.
In early-March 2020, the Grand Princess cruise ship was under quarantine near San Francisco due to the COVID-19 pandemic. WCK in collaboration with Bon Appetit Management Company, fed thousands of stranded passengers for approx. a week while logistics were being figured out. Over 50,000 meals were served during this crisis.
In mid-March 2020, Andrés transformed eight of his New York City and Washington, DC restaurants into soup kitchens to support customers affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
In late-March 2020 in the San Francisco Bay Area, WCK collaborated with Frontline Foods in order to provide an open-sourced effort to deliver meals to local hospital staff from local restaurants, many of which have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 closures.
- For his work with WCK, José Andrés won the 2018 James Beard Foundation Award for Humanitarian of the Year.
- Recognizing his work with WCK, José Andrés was named one of the world's 100 most influential people by Time in 2018.
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