With Red Rabbit's transition into emergency food relief, we would be remisce if we did not highlight one of our most prominent partners in this mission, World Central Kitchen. After just a couple of months, this partnership has grown drastically, and thanks to WCK, we have been able to provide so many New Yorkers with freshly-made, delicious meals during this crisis. We are proud to be working with this amazing organization!
Who are they? Founded in 2010 by Chef Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen is dedicated to using the power of food to heal and strengthen communities through times of crisis and beyond. They’ve served 25 million meals worldwide since their founding, and 11 million meals for global COVID-19 Relief. Their campaign #chefsforAmerica connects people who need meals with food service workers & drivers who need to earn a living.
What are they doing? When COVID-19 shut down our city, we at Red Rabbit mobilized to see how we could help, and connected with World Central Kitchen within the first week. With our shared philosophy that a hot, fresh plate of food in a time of crisis provides hope and dignity, we were natural partners. Our chefs pivoted our menus and portions to better suit an adult palate; and even opened up a new cooking kitchen dedicated to WCK meals. We started slowly, providing a few hundred meals, and distributing them with the amazing partnership of our friend and neighborhood restaurant, La Fonda Boricua in Harlem. We partnered with James Gonzalez (a name you should know!) at La Fonda and quickly added meals as we saw the need grow. James and his business partner, Jorge Ayala (Founder of La Fonda), converted their restaurant into a food pantry, and partnered with NYPD officers to help distribute food to homebound seniors, as well as the CEO of YaVe Tequila, Joe Cruz Jr. (an El Barrio born native), who helps manage that list daily. By mid-April, we were distributing 5,000 meals a day at La Fonda, and added on two other sites - in Washington Heights & Jackson Heights, Queens, and today we are still operating those sites!
How are they doing it? World Central Kitchen is a non-profit organization; their efforts are funded by donations and volunteers. They buy meals directly from the restaurants and food providers in the community, activating the infrastructures already in place, putting folks to work, while feeding folks who are hungry. They are first-responders, knowing that their strengths lie in the ability to mobilize quickly and get buy-in from local partners. James Gonzalez of La Fonda Boricua in Harlem, and Dr. Peralta of Somos in Jackson Heights are prime examples of WCK’s ability to galvanize support within a neighborhood in need. Their work is to support communities in crisis, so that the people they support can feed their neighbors and families. In addition to this local effort, WCK’s founder Jose Andres, is working closely with Congress to pass the FEED act, whereby FEMA funding would pay all costs, so states can work with restaurants to provide food to vulnerable populations. Their pledge is inspired by this Steinbeck quote, “Where ever there's a fight so hungry people may eat, we will be there.”