Celebrity Chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen Destroyed By Russian Missile In Ukraine...

World Central Kitchen is a non-profit started by celebrity chef José Andrés. This past weekend the WCK location providing aid in Ukraine was destroyed by Russian missiles, which hit central Kharkiv, killing two people and injuring 18, many of which were workers for the non-profit. 

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World Central Kitchen is known for providing meals to underserved populations around the globe. Their most recent mission involved providing meals to families living in Ukraine, who otherwise would have to risk their lives to travel long distances and wait for hours to get a proper meal.

This past weekend, however, workers for WCK in Ukraine were hit by Russian missiles, which killed two individuals and injured 18. WCK CEO Nate Mook took to Twitter to share the news of the devastation. 

“An update I hoped I’d never have to make. I’m at a @WCKitchen restaurant in Kharkiv, where less than 24 hours ago I was meeting with their amazing team. Today, a missile stuck. 4 staff were wounded. This is the reality here—cooking is a heroic act of bravery.” Kharkiv is Ukraine’s second-largest city, and has been under attack by Russian shelling throughout the past week, killing dozens including three children. Andés himself also took to Twitter to share his grief. 

“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. Many ways to fight, we do it with food!”

On Sunday, Mook also posted a video of the Kharkiv workers beginning to rebuild what was destroyed, showing their commitment to helping Ukraine residents no matter the risk. 

“The work doesn’t stop! Today, the restaurant team is moving all food products and 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 WCK partners!”

The Executive Director of the UN’s World Food Program, David Beasley, told the media that food depots and warehouses were being specifically targeted by Russia because all of the facilities that have been destroyed contained nothing but food to begin with. “There is no question that food is being used as a weapon of war in many different ways in Ukraine,” Beasley exclaimed. 

WCK’s mission in Ukraine involves mobilizing local restaurants and expanding response efforts to provide hot meals in populated areas such as train stations, shelters, hospitals, and even directly to citizen’s homes. 

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These areas have been devastated by all the violence, and it was a somber day as we distributed hundreds of meals to seniors, women, and children—many in tears after enduring unthinkable horrors for a month. Families have been without food, water, and electricity.”

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When Russia withdrew from the Kyiv region, WCK teams immediately began preparing deliveries to Bucha and Irpin; two areas that went for more than a month without any aid. WCK teams were able to arrive with two trucks filled with hundreds of hot meals and over thousands of pounds of food that people could prepare themselves at home. 

“After initially bringing much-needed food relief to communities in Bucha and Irpin’, we continued to reach more areas just retaken by Ukrainian forces. Each day, WCK is returning to Bucha, Irpin’ and other liberated cities north of Kyiv,” according to WCK’s Ukraine mission page detailing all the efforts team members are making. 

The page explains how “further north of Kyiv, WCK teams began supporting a local bakery in the city of Chernihiv—when we started working with them at the beginning of the month, the city was still under Russian occupation. The team was making a few hundred loaves of bread each day for local residents, and now with our support, they’ve increased production by 10 times, scaling up to bake more than 4,000 loaves of bread each day.”

Despite all the violence and risk, WCK is committed to helping the innocent residents of Ukraine who have been under attack for over a month now. “WCK is so grateful for our amazing restaurant partners and team of volunteers who are working tirelessly and courageously to get food to people in need throughout Ukraine and surrounding countries—together, we have provided over eight million meals.  

“We are honored to work alongside a brave and dedicated community. WCK will continue to support Ukraine as long as we are needed.”