World Central Kitchen

“It’s hot, they’re working hard. They’re gonna be extremely happy to have something comforting to eat. Food means someone remembers that I’m there. I’ve been on fires where they forget about you for 2-3 days and what you have with you is what you’ve got. So, to have someone bring a meal to you just bolsters the idea that you’re not forgotten, and you’re being taken care of too.” – Dave

Dave, a California firefighter.

Dave is a firefighter who lost his home and all of his belongings in the CZU Lightning Complex Fire while he was on the frontlines battling another fire. Although Dave was given time off from work, he wanted to continue helping his community. He reached out to World Central Kitchen (WCK) to help deliver hot meals to local crews still fighting to control the fire in his neighborhood.

2020 was the worst year on record for wildfires in California. The record-breaking 4.2 million acres burned were more than the previous three years combined. Five of the six biggest fires in California’s history burned in 2020.

In response to these devastating wildfires, World Central Kitchen (WCK) received a Google-funded CDP grant to support their #ChefsForCalifornia project. They provided meals to evacuees and first responders in Northern California.

WCK prepared the meals out of their emergency kitchen, activated WCK food trucks and partnered with local restaurants. As a result, in addition to providing sustenance to those in need, WCK’s model of engaging with restaurants infused resources into the local economy and supported local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We just wanted to nourish the people on the front lines. They’re battling something that’s beyond my ability to comprehend, and any tiny bit of comfort in their long days is what we long for.”

– Elan of Barceloneta, a partner restaurant that supported WCK’s efforts.

In total, WCK served more than 58,000 meals in California to first responders and evacuees. These meals provided nourishment and sustenance for firefighters working long and strenuous hours battling the blazes and for residents who had to flee their homes, sometimes escaping with just the clothes they were wearing.

The Center for Disaster Philanthropy is proud to support WCK’s efforts to provide nourishing meals – and spread hope – to people in need.

(Photo source: World Central Kitchen)