In response to the recent devastating hurricane in Florida, the World Central Kitchen’s Chef Relief Team has served over 100,000 meals to victims of the storm. The aid they gave was much needed, as there were power outages, blocked roads, and diminishing essential supplies in affected areas. Having a proper, healthy, and delicious meal can certainly help not only satiate one’s hunger, but also give hope that things will turn out alright.
Without power and clear roads, victims of the storm are finding it difficult to rebuild or return to their normal lives. There were homes that were completely destroyed, so some needed to live in campers, tents, or with neighbours. Projects that deliver food and supplies directly to those who need it are vital to the survival of people in the area. With over 1.5 million people left without power, half a million under evacuation orders, and over 60,000 in evacuation centres, many are left without access to a good meal.
Volunteer chefs for the World Central Kitchen began cooking at the Bay County Emergency Operations Centre before the storm in preparation for the volume of food they know they need to give out. Since the storm has hit, the organization expanded their reach to 55 distribution centers around the area; their original operations in Panama City consisted of three kitchens and three food trucks. The relief team is well-aware that they need to reach areas that were most damaged or overlooked by other relief operations, so volunteers bravely venture out farther than usual.
The warm and comforting meals they bring to people who either haven’t eaten or have only eaten cold, canned food give both physical aid and emotional comfort. The Chef Relief Team also brings food that is fresh and filled with nutrition, so victims of the storm can stay healthier as they attempt to rebuild their lives. They serve dishes such as paella and veggie fried rice, which are way better options than food in a tin can.
While the solution isn’t permanent, residents can sleep a bit better knowing that there are volunteers willing to travel to their area with a hot meal. Especially for homes or areas without power, it’s difficult to cook a meal or even keep food fresh because there’s no power for refrigeration. The chefs cooking for the storm victims are the true culinary masters.