World Central Kitchen reaches milestone, serving 22 million meals in Gaza

A young girl smiles in a refugee camp, holding up a cup of food; a number of plates of food are prepared; two men work at a large stove in World Central Kitchen's Rafah location

As violence persists and the death toll rises in Gaza after over 100 days of conflict, Palestinians are not only desperate for safety — but for food.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, over half a million people in Gaza currently face “catastrophic hunger,” which is equivalent to “famine levels of starvation,” per the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification

Between intense fighting and the difficulty of getting aid to the people who need it most, food remains out of reach for hundreds of thousands displaced in the area.

But Chef José Andrés and his organization World Central Kitchen always seem to find a way.

WCK just announced that it has served over 22 million meals in Gaza.

A World Central Kitchen volunteer feeds people in Gaza
Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen

“Over 100 days the lives of families have been unthinkable in Gaza,” Andres wrote on Instagram. “WCK right now doing everything we can, bringing food to people who need our help! More than 22 million meals so far with hot food, kits for cooking, building kitchens… everything we can.”

The organization has been able to dispatch over 800 trucks to the area and set up 27 kitchens and over 750 clean cooking stoves, according to the announcement. 

The organization’s work in Gaza is centered around its Field Kitchen in the city of Rafah, where many Palestinians have fled as refugees

While getting aid into Gaza has been challenging, the organization’s Egypt team created a system that strategically dispatches supplies every day.

A man and a small child share a bowl of food as fighting continues in Palestine
Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen

“We have dedicated trucks that are designed and compiled in a way to set up a fully operational kitchen and start cooking for 1,845 people per day,” a WCK logistics staffer named Nelly said in a blog post.

Another part of WCK’s success in the face of numerous aid barriers has been thanks to innovative approaches, like newly designed stoves.

As Palestinians lack access to cooking fuel, so d0 humanitarians like the WCK team, who face restrictions to transporting fuel across the border. So they had to get scrappy; the WCK team designed stoves that use wood pellets as fuel and fans to stoke the flames.

Screenshots of a Reel from World Central Kitchen showing its wood pellet stoves
Photos courtesy of World Central Kitchen/Instagram

Working with local manufacturers in Egypt to produce the stoves, they not only solve the problem of fuel for cooking, but do so in a way that uses clean, efficient energy.

“These stoves are now being used by Palestinian volunteers and chefs in our Rafah Field Kitchen to cook thousands of hot meals each day,” a WCK blog post reads. 

WCK has also designed ready-to-eat meal kits with ingredients and food that can feed a family for four days at a time, providing shelf-stable proteins that can last for weeks.

“Though we hope there will be a humanitarian solution before then, our culinary team has finalized the ingredients for special boxes that will be ready for the start of Ramadan in March,” WCK shared.

Three young Palestinian boys smile while opening a tote bag full of canned food
Photo courtesy of World Central Kitchen

As the organization stays committed to its work in Gaza, volunteers are also operating in areas of need around the globe, reaching a worldwide milestone of 350 million meals served earlier this month. 

No matter where in the world WCK finds itself, its mission stays the same: to reach as many people as they can with nourishment.

“The determination is renewed every day in serving the displaced with the help of the WCK team,” a Gaza volunteer, Ramadan, shared with the organization. “Our goal is to alleviate the burden of the displaced & lift them toward better days.”

Header images courtesy of World Central Kitchen

Article Details

January 24, 2024 8:58 AM
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