How José Andrés Is Helping Texans Affected By Winter Storm Uri

Winter storm Uri, according to The Weather Channel, has struck Southern states with the coldest temperatures they have seen for decades. Worse, it deprived many of electricity and clean water. So, Chef José Andrés has joined with his non-profit World Central Kitchen to help out those affected in the city of Austin, Texas.

Eater describes how as soon as they arrived, José Andrés paired with the local group Good Work Austin to organize restaurants into cooking and delivering food to shelters, warming stations, senior citizen centers, and other places in need in an efficient manner. According to Delish, they have served over 2,000 plates in the last week. World Central Kitchen explained that their efforts in Austin were part of a broader response to the catastrophic shutdown in Texas. They had also helped arrange efforts in Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and Dallas.

Talking to the Austin American-Statesman, Chef José Andrés complained that the lack of a plan for such emergency food deliveries had hampered their efforts: "There is a lack of central command to maximize the power of everybody working together." Rather than blame, however, he imagines a future in which governments, both local and statewide, have designated spaces like school kitchens as places to feed the community in times of hardship like the conditions under winter storm Uri.

Good Work Austin was a necessary partner for José Andrés

Assuaging the lack of a governmental presence to distribute emergency food supplies in Austin was the local business network Good Work Austin. Their pre-existing efforts were highlighted by Eater, specifically their feeding agencies and organization during the pandemic. As Adam Orman, a founding member of the group, put it to Eater, "How many times have we had some sort of emergency food response here in the last couple of years?" So when the World Central Kitchen and José Andrés came in to help, a pre-existing network between local restaurants in Austin could be called upon to rally.

The fallout for the storm continues, with Good Work Austin still plugging along with their local efforts and World Central Kitchen coordinating across the state. You can, if you want, donate to them with World Central Kitchen accepting both one-off donations as well as monthly ones and Good Work Austin's community kitchen, which is an ongoing program that provides food for communities in need with locally grown ingredients, accepting one time, weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly donations.

"In these emergency moments, it requires an entire village coming together strong as one," José Andrés told the Austin American-Statesman.