José Andrés’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen is once again stepping in to solve a government-enabled crisis. After providing more meals in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria than any other organization, the nonprofit is well on its way to doing the same for furloughed workers in the midst of the partial government shutdown: On January 23 — the 33rd day of the shutdown — World Central Kitchen fed 11,400 meals to furloughed workers from a pop-up kitchen in D.C.
Since then, the #ChefsForFeds initiative has expanded beyond the nation’s capital. Andrés announced earlier this week that #ChefsForFeds would expand nationwide, and already restaurants across the country have signed on to serve free meals to government employees, including Ludo Lefebvre’s Trois Familia in LA, Stephanie Izard’s Little Goat Diner in Chicago, and all Sweetgreen locations. According to World Central Kitchen, the movement now includes 133 locations in 20 states and Puerto Rico and D.C.
While World Central Kitchen is a chef-led nonprofit at its heart, the #ChefsForFeds initiative is getting help from outside the restaurant industry. The Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas is serving as a base for World Central Kitchen in Arkansas, providing a central location for furloughed workers to pick up hot meals. And yesterday, Uber announced that it would offer rides to and from World Central Kitchen resource centers, which offer household supplies in addition to food.
The shutdown is the now longest in U.S. history and has left more than 800,000 government employees without paychecks. In a Twitter video, Andrés called it a “national food emergency.” But responding to such emergencies is World Central Kitchen’s business, and Andrés assured his Twitter followers that his nonprofit will be there for as long as it’s needed “to make sure nobody goes hungry.”
• @WCKitchen [Twitter]
• @chefjoseandres [Twitter]
• José Andrés and His Nonprofit Pledge to Feed Thousands of Furloughed Employees [EDC]
• #ChefsForFeds Across the USA [WCK]