World Central Kitchen Just Took Another Devastating Hit In Ukraine

Chef, restaurant owner and humanitarian Jose Andres announced on Instagram today that a train headed for his World Central Kitchen (WCK) outpost in Eastern Ukraine was hit with a Russian missile, destroying a wagon of food but not causing any casualties. The attack marked the second time in which the relief organization has been struck by Russian forces since their military invaded Ukraine on February 24. On April 15, a Russian missile hit a WCK restaurant partner in the city of Kharkiv, sending four staff members to the hospital with burn injuries and, according to The New York Times, killing two civilians.

WCK mobilized units in the region the day after Russian Vladimir Putin declared a special military operation and rained missiles down on Ukraine, initially displacing an estimated 100,000 people (via Reuters). Millions have since become refugees, often traveling for days at a time without food, as attacks on ports and border cities have caused massive supply chain disruptions leading to shortages within and outside of Ukraine. In April 2022, The United Nations estimated that 13 million more people are trapped in "the hardest-hit areas," incapable of leaving and inaccessible to aid workers. Kelly Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, credited neighboring countries for opening their borders and volunteering food, transportation, medicine, and shelter amid the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Jose Andres's WCK once again shows resolve, resilience after Russian attack

"This won't stop us," Jose Andres wrote on Instagram, announcing the latest Russian attack, today, on a train car carrying food supplies that were headed to a World Central Kitchen (WCK) center in Eastern Ukraine. "Our amazing Ukrainian WCK teams will keep feeding the people!" Commenters were quick to voice their support for Andres's relief efforts, writing messages like, "May you all be blessed for your determination in helping and feeding the hungry wonderful people of Ukraine." According to WCK, "mobilizing teams of cooks in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain, and Germany," the organization has served more than 44 million meals in more than 4,000 distribution locations, working in collaboration with restaurant partners, food trucks and other local food purveyors. 

Triple Pundit reports WCK has become "the largest food relief operation in Ukraine," supplementing fresh meals with "grocery kits, shelf-stable packs, and meal vouchers," just as the organization has done in areas around the world since it was founded by Andres in 2010. The extraordinary story of Andres's humanitarian mission and the history of WCK is the subject of a documentary film by Ron Howard, "We Feed People," which premiered May 27 on Disney+.