José Andrés and World Central Kitchen Are Feeding Ukrainians in Need—Here's How You Can Help
After the whirlwind that was 2021 (an insurrection at the capitol in Washington, wild weather, pandemic ebbs and flows, an economic crisis and inflation … not to mention our own personal challenges with family, friends and careers), many of us were imagining 2022 would usher in a calmer, healthier and more peaceful year.
But just as the omicron wave of COVID-19 began to slightly loosen its grip on America and we started seeing the brighter, warmer weather of spring on the horizon, tensions started to escalate in eastern Europe. And Russia recently launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, one of its southwestern neighbors, which is quite possibly the biggest conventional warfare operation on European soil since World War II. (Learn more about the invasion from our sister publication PEOPLE.)
While news reports roll in from across the globe, it's tough not to feel a bit helpless considering Ukraine is about 5,700 miles away from the U.S. True to form, though, José Andrés knows exactly what to do and how to help.
Much like he did after earthquakes in Haiti and Afghanistan, on Election Day in 2020 when lines stretched for hours and amid coronavirus food shortages, the Spanish American chef jumped into action to feed Ukrainians. Andrés and his team from his nonprofit World Central Kitchen are already on the ground at the Ukraine-Poland border to feed refugees. To date, at least 150,000 Ukrainians have fled the country for safety, the Associated Press confirms.
"People of the world … Like you, I am distraught watching Ukraine under attack. We must come together as a force for good! @WCKitchen is on [the] Poland border delivering meals tonight—Romania soon," Andrés tweeted on Friday.
Beyond making an investment of time and effort to cook and deliver meals, the chef is investing a substantial amount financially, too. As part of the Jeff Bezos' Courage and Civility Award that Andrés won in 2021, he received $100 million to use for any future charity work he desired.
"In addition to your donations … I am committing support from the Bezos award to Ukraine," Andrés wrote on Twitter. He continued via video, "here is a fight and we're gonna make sure that nobody's going hungry, and we show the respect they deserve. But again, [it's] no more of allowing people [to] think they are the top of the world, that they are bad people bringing the worst out of humanity. We need to be a force of good."
Speaking of those donations, they're rolling in from across the globe, both from individuals and from groups rallying together to up the ante. (Fourteen baking brands in Iowa, for instance, are rallying together to raffle off doughnuts, macarons and more. Each $5 donation to World Central Kitchen earns participants one entry. In less than 24 hours, the fundraiser, led by Pie Bird Pies and Bread by Chelsa B. has earned more than $2,000.)
It takes less than 60 seconds to support the work of Andrés and World Central Kitchen. Click here to contribute to the cause. Charity Navigator has more information about highly rated charities that are involved in the current humanitarian crisis to consider supporting as well.
Besides that, experts on the current climate in Russia say that it's important for us all—no matter what corner of the world we live—to stay informed and report any misinformation we see on social media. (Under Putin, disinformation has become one of Russia's favorite weapons, and amplifying it can spread details that may harm civilians.)