Within hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, restaurants and relief organizations across the globe had already sprung into action. In a show of solidarity with the Ukrainian people, these businesses and nonprofits have been working around the clock to raise money and feed those who have been impacted by the violence.
Shortly after the invasion began, it became immediately clear that a humanitarian crisis was imminent. According to the United Nations, more than 660,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes in search of safety as war rages in their country. Countless others have stayed in Ukraine, vowing to defend their homes against the occupation. “You will see our faces,” Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, directing his words at Putin. “Not our backs.”
Much of the world has thrown their support behind Zelenskyy and Ukraine. From José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, which was on the ground in Poland within hours of the invasion, to global fundraising network Bakers Against Racism, here’s a look at what the U.S. hospitality industry is doing to support — and feed — people in Ukraine during this crisis.
World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit food relief organization operated by chef Andrés, announced that it would be on the ground in Poland within hours of the Ukraine invasion. The organization is currently situated near a “24-hour pedestrian border crossing” in Poland, and feeding thousands of Ukrainians as they flee the country. In Korczowa, the organization teamed up with food truck Oh My Ramen, which is operated by two Ukrainians who live in Poland, to serve hot meals at an accommodation center set up to house refugees, some of whom walked hours after fleeing their homes. Upon arriving in the Polish village of Medyka, World Central Kitchen served upwards of 4,000 meals in just 18 hours.
World Central Kitchen has also set up shop in Odesa, Ukraine, partnering with chef Aleksander Yourz of Yourz Space Bistro. There, Yourz and World Central Kitchen volunteers are preparing thousands of meals for people unable to leave Odesa, along with those fighting against Russian troops. World Central Kitchen is currently in the process of dispatching volunteers to Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Hungary, all near Ukraine, to provide additional support.
World Central Kitchen is on the ground in Poland. World Central Kitchen Fundraising for Ukraine
On Saturday, February 26, Paola Velez launched the Bake For Ukraine campaign, a worldwide bake sale for independent bakers to raise money for World Central Kitchen, as well as Sunflower of Peace, Save the Children, and the International Rescue Committee. On the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, like millions of other people worldwide, pastry chef Velez was reading the news. “It was like, ‘Oh my goodness, what’s happening?’ I was traveling and I had to be on set, so I really couldn’t wrap my head around what was going on,” Velez said by phone. Velez is one of three co-founders of Bakers Against Racism, a horizontal organization of bakers worldwide who united in June 2020 for the world’s largest unofficial bake sale,