I have written several times in the past about Chef José Andrés and his humanitarian works, and today he is back in the spotlight. I had trouble writing this one, for more than a few times the tears blurred my vision. If ever there was a man who qualified for sainthood, it is Chef Andrés.
Chef Andrés has helped feed firefighters who were battling wildfires in California, he opened numerous kitchens during the first year of the pandemic to feed struggling families and give jobs to displaced restaurant workers. He showed up to feed the thousands of displaced people in New Orleans after Hurricane Ida last year and in 2018 he and his team went to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. This time, however, may top all the rest, for Chef Andrés and his World Central Kitchen (WCK) team have gone to the borders of Ukraine to feed the thousands of refugees streaming into Poland, Romania, Moldova and, beginning Monday, Hungary.
The team has a three-phase plan that first addresses feeding refugees as they cross at the borders and those remaining in the country. After that, the organization plans to focus on helping feed people at refugee facilities in neighboring countries. Finally, he said, the third phase would take place once the fighting has stopped in Ukraine, and WCK would help organize trucks to enter Ukraine and establish community kitchens in various communities.
“I will make sure we don’t fail.”
On Monday, Chef José Andrés had spent nearly all day handing out plates of hot food to hungry Ukrainian women and children who had fled Russian missile attacks in their country and crossed the border into Poland and he was exhausted, but before going to bed he posted this video that I think you’ll find tells the story far better than any words I could write.
I noticed Chef Andrés’ blurb on his Twitter page and I think he sums it up well when he says …
“We all are Citizens of the World. What’s good for you, must be good for all. If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger … you will find who you are.”
Chef Andrés has won numerous awards, but the one that stands out in my mind is the National Humanities Medal he was awarded in a White House ceremony in 2016.
As I wrote this, I could not help but wonder how I could help, how I could do some small something to help, so after checking my bank balance, I decided to make a small donation to help Mr. Andrés and the WCK purchase food to help the displaced Ukrainians. My hat is off to this wonderful humanitarian and all those who travel with him on his mission to provide food to those in need. Thank you, Chef Andrés — be safe for the world needs you!