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World Central Kitchen (WCK), the nonprofit organization by Chef José Andrés, has been globally utilizing food to empower those in need over the past decade. Responding to situations like natural disasters, refugee crises, and government shutdowns, WCK’s efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic was no exception.
In response to the business closures and employment loss surrounding the pandemic, WCK has spearheaded two initiatives in the U.S.—ChefsForAmerica and Restaurants For The People. Operating on two main platforms, the programs focus on keeping restaurants in business and providing meals for the hungry.
Through ChefsForAmerica, WCK purchases meals from local restaurants—fueled in part by community donations made online—procuring around 250,000 meals a day. Committing to a total of $50M to more than 1,200 independent restaurants, WCK has enabled the involved businesses to remain open with proper safety guidelines, also benefitting those further down the supply chain—like ranchers, fishers, and farmers.
Concurrently, Restaurants For The People—working in conjunction with community leaders to pinpoint local needs—delivers food to those facing hardship, prepared locally by independent restaurants. Operating in cities like New York, D.C., Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis, WCK’s endeavors against the virus have served over 6.5 million meals to date.
The organization also recently launched ChefsForSpain to share resources for the public on its website. Downloadable guidelines are available to help kitchen staff safely prepare food during the pandemic and show proper hand-washing protocols.