In the second of a special two-part episode focused on resiliency, Tucker Perkins speaks with Alexandra Garcia, Chief Program Officer with World Central Kitchen (WCK).
WCK has served more than 40 million fresh meals to people impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world in places like the Bahamas, Indonesia, Mozambique as well as the United States.
Founded by Chef José Andrés and his wife Patricia, WCK works to create smart solutions to hunger and poverty. Additionally, the organization is making an amazing impact around the world through its clean cookstoves initiative, culinary training programs, and social enterprise ventures that empower communities and strengthen economies.
Alexandra Garcia talked to Tucker about how food can be an agent of change in distressed communities.
When disaster strikes, WCK’s Chef Relief Team steps out of the kitchen and on to the front lines to provide freshly made, nutritious meals to those in need. After WCK has led an emergency food relief response, its resilience team evaluates the food ecosystem and will make long-term commitments of support by helping address chronic food system challenges with its unique mix of talents and resources.
Garcia detailed the enormous global health issue of unclean cookstoves.
Tens of millions of people around the world put their health at risk from smoky fires by cooking indoors with charcoal and wood. More than 4 million people die from health issues caused by this practice each year. José Andrés first became aware of this issue while providing relief meals in Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake.
WCK believes that all women around the world deserve to cook in way that won’t put their families at risk. Their work has focused on converting schools with charcoal stoves to cooking with clean burning propane. They also work with school and institutional cooks that often don’t have any formal training on how to cook with propane.
Garcia says World Central Kitchen is working on better awareness of long-term issues like clean cooking and making people understand that half of the world lives this way.
WCK is also involved in COVID-19 response by working across America to safely distribute individually packaged, fresh meals in communities that need support. To date, WCK has provided over 25 million meals in more than 400 cities.