Padma Lakshmi Just Joined José Andrés' Efforts To Help Ukraine

As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to intensify, some of the food world's most influential figures are banding together to come to the aid of the countless displaced Ukrainian citizens. Earlier this week, chef and humanitarian José Andrés announced on Twitter that his organization World Central Kitchen, a non-profit dedicated to "helping devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems," would begin distributing meals to Ukrainian refugees — some of whom face 60-hour waits to enter nearby countries after traveling tens of miles by foot in freezing temperatures — at numerous points along the Ukrainian border (via CNN).

Andrés joined the relief efforts, posting a video from the Ukraine-Poland border to his Twitter. "This is one of the places [World Central Kitchen] has hot meals. It is below freezing tonight and I am meeting so many refugees, families who are escaping and don't know what's next ... We will do our best not to let them down," the chef wrote, noting that they had already served over 8,000 meals at that single entry point.

Other prominent figures in the food industry have come out in support of the organization's efforts, including "Taste the Nation" host Padma Lakshmi. In an Instagram post, the chef and cookbook author shared her admiration for the organization's Ukrainian relief efforts, writing: "As the world watches and prays for Ukraine, I continue to be endlessly inspired by the world of my friend Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen."

José Andrés has already served thousands of meals to Ukrainian refugees

In her Instagram post, Padma Lakshmi urged her followers to donate to support World Central Kitchen, writing that the organization "swiftly provides relief in the form of hot, chef-prepared meals to ... communities impacted and displaced by devastation." The "Top Chef” host noted that in addition to serving thousands of meals to those in need along the Poland-Ukraine border, the non-profit has also begun working with local restaurants within Ukraine to provide meals to residents and soldiers, and has partnered with nuns across various border entry points to serve hot food to refugees.

In a video posted to the World Central Kitchen Instagram account, CEO Nate Mook shared an on-the-ground perspective of the caravans of Ukrainian families waiting to gain safe passage into the neighboring country. "There are hundreds of cars lined up here [of] families fleeing Ukraine. Many of them have been waiting 10, 20, sometimes 30 hours to ... get across the border. We're going down the line handing out sandwiches, fresh fruit, [and] chocolate for the kids," Mook says of the organization's efforts. With no end in sight to the war between Ukraine and Russia, and countless more refugees fleeing to safety, José Andrés — with the help of public donations and some famous friends — is aiming to aid as many Ukrainian refugees as possible, one comforting, hope-providing meal at a time.