Thousands fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine are being fed by one of D.C.’s most famous chefs as they cross the border. José Andrés is on the ground in Poland with his nonprofit World Central Kitchen.
Friday evening, World Central Kitchen began serving hot meals at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland and Andrés was en route to the border near Przemyśl, Poland.
On Sunday, he posted a video to Twitter describing the scene:
“There is this road that people come from Ukraine. Ukraine is like 500 meters to my back … and what you’re gonna see is that people don’t stop arriving” he said in a tweet.
“People are cold. Families are cold, they carry with them whatever they can bring … It’s freezing cold and I don’t know how people make it.”
People of the World…Reporting from the Ukraine border! This is one of the places @WCKitchen has hot meals. It is below freezing tonight & I am meeting so many refugees, families who are escaping & don’t know what’s next…We will do our best not to let them down! #ChefsForUkraine pic.twitter.com/YiEemUfLlC
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 28, 2022
At that site alone, Andrés said they had served over 8,000 meals.
World Central Kitchen has numerous other feeding sites set up along the Polish border, serving everything from chicken, rice and vegetables, to thick stews and ramen.
They are also setting up stations to get hot meals on the Romanian, Moldovan, Slovakian and Hungarian borders for hungry refugees.
“Remember there is a lot of roads that leave Ukraine,” Andrés told his Twitter followers.
The group is also partnering with restaurants inside Ukraine. Yourz Space Bistro cooked 1,000 meals Sunday for residents stuck in Odessa. They also have restaurants up and running in the western city of Lviv.
First @WCKitchen meals in Odessa Ukraine! This is Chef Aleksander Yourz…his team at Yourz Space Bistro cooked 1,000 meals today for residents stuck in Odessa & Ukrainians defending the city! Only a start—WCK is supporting chefs in many cities to feed the hungry! #ChefsForUkraine pic.twitter.com/7qjLktWnMi
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 27, 2022
“We’re telling them guys there’s many ways to fight. So people find us making sure that people are fed. And those are our people and we’re gonna be supporting them in many ways,” Andrés said.
On Friday, Andrés announced that he would spend $2 to $5 million on the efforts. The funding comes from a $100 million grant the nonprofit received from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
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 Poland border delivering meals tonight—Romania soon. In addition to your donations…I am committing support from the Bezos award to Ukraine.🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/ws0EFl8zLd
— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) February 25, 2022
“We want to make sure that nobody’s going hungry and we show the respect they deserve,” Andrés said when he made the announcement.