By Jane Bower
Wendy Myers is a superb cook. Anyone who has been lucky enough to take her cooking classes over the last several years knows this. So, no one was surprised when she undertook a huge baking project in support of World Central Kitchen’s work for Ukraine.
Myers got the idea from her sister, who has her own baking business in Philadelphia. Her sister was baking cakes as a fundraiser for Ukraine, using an old recipe of their mother’s, the original master chef. Myers put out the offer to bake lemon and blueberry loaf cakes (yellow and blue, the Ukrainian colours) to support World Central Kitchen (WCK); within a day, she had orders for more than she could handle. Myers’s project took off with help from family members and Anne-Marie Currier who did the packaging. The selling price was $15 a cake; however, she collected $4,000 for 120 cakes as her generous customers showed great support for her project and Ukraine.
The World Central Kitchen supplies freshly prepared meals to victims of disaster, including “humanitarian, climate and community crises.” It was founded in 2010 by José Andrés, a celebrity restaurateur and chef, as a response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. (You might remember Andrés as the restaurant owner who broke a lease for a restaurant in Trump International Hotel in Washington after Donald Trump slandered undocumented Mexican workers in the U.S., calling them rapists among other things.) Seeing Haiti’s devastation, WCK delivered not only food but also chefs and even kitchens. Since then, WCK has been on the front lines of almost every disaster in the world, delivering hot meals using familiar ingredients to desperate people. They organize very quickly, working with local restaurants, their own trained chefs (“chefs without borders”) and staff along with many volunteers. In 2017, they provided three million meals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, more than any other relief organization, establishing the organization not only as a leader in disaster relief efforts in food but also inspiring a new model in disaster relief.
As of March 27, it was reported that WCK had served four million meals to Ukrainian refugees; they have set up 24/7 meal-distribution sites at the eight border crossings into Poland. These hot meals are much needed by migrants who have often travelled many days without any real food, let alone a hot meal. The meals consist of familiar foods including marinated pork, roasted potatoes, beans, cabbage and hot borscht! WCK also trucks food into Ukraine where there are many refugees and serious food shortages in cities decimated by Russia. In Lviv, for example, 10,000 sandwiches a day are being delivered to the train station for new refugees. This non-profit organization is funded by donations and grants and has a 100-per-cent efficiency rating.
After Puerto Rico, José Andrés said, “At the end, I couldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t try to do what I thought was right. We need to think less sometimes and dream less and just make it happen.” Wendy Myers has done just that.
For more information about WCK, check out www.wck.org.
Jane Bower is an active member of the Glebe community.