Chef José Andrés' Washington D.C. World Central Kitchen opened up a #ChefsForFeds resource center today next to its Navy Memorial Kitchen to assist furloughed federal employees in meeting basic needs during the nation's longest government shutdown, now entering its 32nd day.
"The financial pressure of the shutdown on furloughed feds extends far beyond food," Andres said yesterday. The #ChefsForFeds Resource Center is offering local government employees groceries, including diapers and pet food, along with resources and support services to help employees who haven't been paid since last year. Pepco, Verizon, DC Diaper Bank, Metro DC Food Bank, Martha's Table, and AARP are all supporting the chef's effort.
This isn't Andrés' first time supporting communities in need; most notably the chef activated his World Central Kitchen and Chefs for Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017.
"We began serving hospitals, because the doctors and the nurses — nobody was feeding them," Andrés told NPR. At its peak, the kitchen had 18 locations across the island and was serving 150,000 meals a day. The chef received the James Beard Humanitarian Award of the year for his work in Puerto Rico, which he detailed in the 2018 memoir, We Fed an Island.
As the government shutdown shows no signs of ending, Andrés announced he would be expanding the #ChefsForFeds program nationally to assist as many federal employees as possible. "We will feed Americans in need for as long as this crisis continues." He also noted that the shutdown could potentially disrupt the service of people receiving food stamps (SNAP), and he's already working on ways to support those families as well.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi visited the resource center this morning with Chef Andrés to thank the volunteers.
“We believe this is a national food emergency,” Andrés says in a video posted to Twitter on Saturday.
“This is our action to make sure no one will go hungry, President Trump," the chef said in the video. "What are you doing about it?"
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