As of yesterday, Washington, DC-based chef José Andrés was still in Puerto Rico mobilizing volunteers and setting up kitchens to feed people in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island late last month. Since arriving, the superhero chef and his disaster-relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen have served over 350,000 meals; They are well on their way to their goal of feeding 100,000 people daily.
Over the weekend, Andrés and team traveled from World Central Kitchen’s base in San Juan to farther flung areas in need of aid. World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForPuertoRico opened a kitchen in Farjado and served 9,000 people, one day ahead of schedule. This kitchen will continue to feed people in Farjado and nearby Culebra and Vieques for the next two weeks, Andrés promised in a Twitter video.
Reporting Word Central Kitchen 9,000 meals I’m Fajardo! https://t.co/2Bk6XgvpkV— José Andrés (@chefjoseandres) October 9, 2017
Despite bad weather, World Central Kitchen also dispatched a food truck to Naranjito and dropped off 400 meals in Vega Baja, “where the flooding was 10 feet high,” Andrés said on Twitter. Earlier this weekend, volunteers went door-to-door with food in Corozal, Palmarejo, and Guarico.
Andrés says that World Central Kitchen will need to roll back operations soon, but the group is still activating kitchens around the perimeter of Puerto Rico and in the center of the island. “We’re going to do 200,000 meals a day no problem,” Andrés says in the video above.
In an interview with News is my Business, Puerto Rico’s English-language news site, Andrés also discussed Puerto Rico’s longterm recovery, noting that bringing food from the outside in “is not good news.” Instead, the chef says, he would make sure that “all the food is produced, cooked, and delivered by Puerto Ricans for Puerto Ricans.”
According to Andrés, activating the private sector — not receiving outside government aid — is key: “We cannot wait 60 days to activate the economy. The economy should be activated as we are bringing hope and food and help to people. That’s the right way to do it.”