World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by chef and entrepreneur José Andrés that feeds survivors in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, has announced a new disaster-relief fund.
Seeded with $5 million from its funding partners, the Climate Disaster Fund is looking to raise $50 million to support and expand the organization's ongoing work. Money already contributed to the fund is supporting the organization's relief efforts in the Bahamas, where it has served more than five hundred thousand meals to people impacted by Hurricane Dorian. Andres and his team made their way to the Bahamas before Dorian made landfall there and enlisted the help of a Nassau resort, which invited them to use its industrial-size kitchen as a home base.
"I have just returned from the Bahamas, where the devastation on Abaco and Grand Bahama has turned people's lives upside down," Andrés told the Associated Press. "As the world's leaders come together...in New York to talk about climate change, the current situation in the Bahamas should be a wake-up call....[I]t is obvious that we can't afford to do nothing. As our World Central Kitchen team goes from disaster to disaster, we see the consequences of not acting — the number of lives lost, communities losing everything they have, entire ecosystems being wiped out — but to me the most frightening part is that it's getting worse every year and there continues to be inaction. We must act with the urgency of now. Not tomorrow, not a week from now, not a month from now. Today."
"After five category 5 Atlantic hurricanes in the past four years, a never-ending fire season in California, increasing floods, and lingering droughts, it is clear this is now the new normal — brought on by our changing climate. These disasters are becoming more prevalent and more powerful, and oftentimes affect our most vulnerable populations," said WCK executive director Nate Mook. "As a result, the need for urgent relief and long-term resiliency has grown exponentially, and this fund will enable our team to allocate resources immediately, where they are needed most."