Chef José Andrés’ non-profit World Central Kitchen has announced a $1 billion disaster relief fund to feed those affected by environmental crises, funded in part by the $100 million donation by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
The fund will work to provide immediate relief for those in dire need, and will invest in long-term solutions to fight climate change and food insecurity. Funding will be distributed over the next ten years.
“This is a fight so hungry people can eat,” said Andrés. “We cannot wait for more promises from world leaders. We need the fierce urgency of now.”
Timed to coincide with COP26, the announcement detailed the fund’s first action, which is to pledge $50 million to feed people impacted by extreme weather.
“It’s the culmination of all of our efforts being on the front line of these disasters, watching them get bigger and bigger,” World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook told Bloomberg. “We have cooked somewhere in the world every day since Sept. 25, 2017, when we went to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria.”
While the $1 billion figure is an eye-opening amount of money, Mook explained that WCK is already deploying huge funding to feed those in need. “In 2020, World Central Kitchen spent well over $250 million feeding communities as a result of disasters and Covid.”
The Climate Disaster Relief Fund will be deployed in three different ways. Firstly, it will create an army of climate relief first/second responders. Part of this is Chef Relief Training, which will teach locals how to implement emergency food relief activations at scale taught directly by WCK Chef Relief Team instructors.
Secondly, World Central Kitchen will invest in communities disproportionally impacted by disasters by expanding the food producer network through investing in local business with grants, training and market access. Thirdly, WCK will continue to develop their Community Relief Centers across the world.
According to Mook, the much-publicised donation by the founder of Amazon, “helped us think bigger. It’s a huge gift to World Central Kitchen”.
Andres has also announced a new media company to tell stories through food. "It's been my dream to launch José Andrés Media for many years — to tell stories about who we are through the food we eat. Our food content will be as creative, fun, inspiring and authentic as our restaurants. I can't wait to get started," said Andrés.