World Central Kitchen and the feat of supplying food on the frontlines of crisis

More News Top Stories
World Central Kitchen and the feat of supplying food on the frontlines of crisis

The killing of seven humanitarian aid workers in Gaza on April 1 caused immediate international uproar against Israel, which called the bombing a ‘grave mistake’ by the country’s defense forces.

The World Central Kitchen (WCK), an internationally recognized humanitarian organization, employed the victims, nationals of Australia, Canada/US (dual citizen), Palestine, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

They also called for an independent investigation of the air strikes. On April 2, the Israeli army chief, Herzi Halevi said a preliminary review showed the strikes were not carried out with the intention of killing aid workers but resulted from a “misidentification” of the vehicles in the aid convoy in complex conditions at night.

World Central Kitchen has rejected the initial findings and reiterated the human right to food access.

"The root cause of the unjustified rocket fire on our convoy is the severe lack of food in Gaza. Israel needs to dramatically increase the volume of food and medicine traveling by land if it is serious about supporting humanitarian aid," World Central Kitchen said in a statement.

"Food is a universal human right. WCK is proud to have fed families across Israel after October 7, and we continue to demand the release of all hostages. At the same time, we believe Palestinian families have the same universal right to food, water and medicine. We know Israelis, deep down, share the same values."

Millions of meals supplied

World Food Kitchen has played a significant aid role in the region, achieving logistical feats, even building a jetty, to supply emergency food and water to Gaza. Following the fatal attack, the organization has now paused its operations in the regions.

The organization had teams working in the Middle East since October, including Gaza, Lebanon, and Israel. On its webpage, WCK said, “despite restrictions on humanitarian aid entering the territory, our teams have been able to establish a Field Kitchen in Rafah, create a network of community kitchens across Gaza, and send hundreds of aid trucks to communities in desperate need of food.”

On March 30, WCK announced their second maritime aid shipment with destination to Gaza.

“Our teams have provided more than 43 million meals by land, air, and sea to Palestinians facing starvation,” the organization said.

This latest shipment carried enough food to prepare more than 1 million meals. 

Logistical triumphs around the world

The organization's work in Gaza was just one of many efforts to connect food supplies with people in the world's most vulnerable and often difficult-to-reach places. The task requires complex logistical and safety planning in high-risk environments. 

In one of WCK’s blog posts, they described their work during the earlier days of the COVID-19 crisis to feed affected people.

“We are experts at rapidly setting up kitchens and establishing safe logistics processes to get food to where it needs to go — whether in the middle of a hurricane in The Bahamas, cholera outbreak in Mozambique, after an earthquake in Puerto Rico, or in this case, during a viral epidemic.”

The World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés when he traveled to Haiti following a devastating earthquake to provide food for those in need. 

Since then, the organization has been on the frontlines of conflicts and natural disasters around the world providing food relief. When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017, Andrés gathered a group of chefs to go out and help. 

That same year, the group delivered 4 million fresh meals to victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 

Mourning the victims

Today, the organization has teams across the world helping those in need, including the team of seven workers who were killed providing food to the victims of the war in Gaza. 

“We are deeply mourning the news that our brave and beloved Zomi has been killed doing the work she loves,” said the family of Zomi Frankcom, the Australian aid worker killed by Israeli forces in Gaza.

Damian Sabol, a 35-year-old from Poland, was another victim. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski confirmed the information saying, "Our brave compatriot, Mr Damian Sobol from Przemysl, helped people in need in Gaza where there is a humanitarian crisis. He was killed during an attack which the Israeli army has accepted responsibility for.”

In honoring the victims of the attack, Erin Gore, CEO of WCK said, “These are the heroes of World Central Kitchen. These 7 beautiful souls were killed by the IDF in a strike as they were returning from a full day's mission. Their smiles, laughter, and voices are forever embedded in our memories. And we have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world. We are reeling from our loss. The world's loss.”

Subscribe to our newsletter