José Andrés' World Central Kitchen Surpassed A Major Milestone In Ukraine

Six months ago, Russian forces invaded Ukraine after a lengthy build-up of troops along the country's border. The BBC reports that the invasion has slowed, but fighting continues as Ukrainian troops attempt to retake occupied territories. According to the refugee agency USA for UNHCR, approximately 13 million Ukrainians have been displaced, with many fleeing to neighboring countries to seek shelter and aid.

From the beginning of the conflict, chef José Andrés' nonprofit World Central Kitchen (WCK) sought to provide food to those in need. Andrés and his crew began on Poland's border, serving meals in subzero temperatures to refugees escaping Ukraine. WCK has continued to operate kitchens across the country that provide meals despite devastating setbacks — both a train car of supplies and a distribution location have been hit by alleged Russian missile strikes.

In the face of these horrors, the nonprofit has recently passed a significant milestone.

WCK has served more than 150 million meals in Ukraine

Celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern sat down to talk to José Andrés about WCK's ongoing work in Ukraine. Andrés said the organization had passed the landmark of distributing more than 150 million meals in the past six months. This milestone was met with the cooperation and aid of more than 6,000 Ukrainians helping to feed fellow citizens in over 1,000 cities across the country.

Andrés has recently spent another two weeks in the country checking in on WCK's operations in the region firsthand.

Though WCK has made incredible strides in aiding Ukrainians, Andrés has warned that the worst of the conflict may still be ahead. Reuters reports that the chef has already started urging additional food aid for the country ahead of a difficult winter, with fears that supplies and donations will wain just as Ukrainians may need them the most.

Andrés founded WCK in 2010 when he flew to Haiti in response to the earthquake that had devastated the country. Since then, WCK has developed a model of quick response to crises utilizing local resources and expertise to provide food assistance. The nonprofit was recently the subject of a documentary entitled "We Feed People," directed by Ron Howard.