One of José Andrés' World Central Kitchen Locations Was Struck by a Missile in Ukraine—Here's How You Can Help
World Central Kitchen (WCK), the charity kitchen founded by José Andrés, had its Ukrainian location destroyed by a missile over the weekend, according to a tweet from CEO Nate Mook. World Central Kitchen has been active in Ukraine since February, when the nonprofit opened a kitchen on the border between Ukraine and Poland.
On Twitter, Mook shared a video update from the now unusable kitchen in Kharkiv, near the Russian border. Four staff members were injured during the strike and have recovered and been released from the hospital, per Mook's last update. Three of the hurt chefs seemed to be in good spirits in a photo Mook shared from the hospital.
"Less than 24 hours ago, I was standing right here, picking up meals for the WCK team and meeting Vera and the Yaposhka staff," Mook says in the video. "Not too long ago, a missile hit here, and as you can see, tremendous amounts of damage. There's still a fire in the building there." Mook also points out the kitchen area, which he says sustained "a lot of damage."
"In this area, there are offices, there are residences," Mook adds in the video. "People live here. People work here. People cook here, and that's it. I don't really know what else to say." The New York Times reports that one person died and eight were injured in Saturday's artillery strike. Further strikes continued on Sunday and Monday.
Despite the ongoing destruction, Mook shared that the restaurant team was packing a truck with food and kitchen equipment to move to a new location less than 24 hours after his original video.
While World Central Kitchen has been somewhat discreet about its locations across Ukraine, Mook did note that the destroyed kitchen was in a former chain restaurant called Yaposhka. The staff working the Yaposhka kitchen has now relocated to an underground kitchen, where they are already back to preparing thousands of meals for folks remaining in Ukraine. In an interview with The Washington Post, Mook shared that it was at the Yaposhka staff's insistence that World Central Kitchen set up a new kitchen to continue feeding people in the area.
World Central Kitchen has been active in other cities across the country, including Odesa and Kyiv, and the Kharkiv location has been active for weeks now, per a post from the nonprofit. In that time, the chefs manning the Kharkiv kitchen have fed animal shelter workers and workers at World Central Kitchen warehouses in Kharkiv have supplied families and shelters in the area with food.
Andrés himself is on the ground in Ukraine and has committed money from the $100 million Bezos Award to helping distribute food during the conflict. World Central Kitchen, which has coordinated culinary relief efforts during natural disasters, hectic election days and refugee crises, has never operated in a warzone before.
You can donate to World Central Kitchen's efforts online by PayPal, credit card or bank transfer. You can also donate cryptocurrency, stock and IRA funds, as well as mail a check to the nonprofit's headquarters in Washington, D.C. If you're a food professional who wants to get involved in World Central Kitchen's Volunteer Corps, you can sign up here.