Food and the Ukraine Crisis
Like many, I’ve been thinking a lot about the situation in Ukraine this past week. I’ve been reading about and listening to all kinds of reports and stories of the situation, including ones about food.
And that makes sense, because in a crisis you go back to the basics, just trying to make sure you have clothes, shelter, warmth, food, and water. After all, without food, no one can fight. Without food, no one can flee for safety.
We all know that food is essential to our survival, but most of the time, many of us take it for granted. Not everyone, sadly; far too many are food insecure. But a lot of us can usually rely on having something to eat.
That’s not the case for many Ukrainians now. For those fleeing their homes, they may not have the time or capacity to take much of anything. And those staying aren’t guaranteed to have access to food.
But thankfully, some are helping. I’ve been impressed with Chef José Andrés for a long time, and this week is no exception. His organization, World Central Kitchen (WCK), almost immediately went to Poland to set up food stations for the refugees crossing the border. Not long after, they moved to other bordering countries as well.
WCK has already produced thousands of meals for refugees, and their output will likely increase as they set up more locations. They’re also working with chefs still in Ukraine to provide food for those who remain. As their website states: “WCK will continue to help in the best way we know how, with a freshly prepared plate of food.”
I’m thinking, too, of the image of the Russian soldier who was captured, and instead of being imprisoned, he was given something to eat and drink while having a video call with his mother. Those with him clearly knew, as Andrés does, that giving a person something to eat in these situations is one of the best things you can do.
Those stories and many others (especially the ones involving pets) bring me to tears. I feel very helpless watching all this unfold from afar, particularly knowing that 80 Ukrainians work for my company as contractors, including one woman I’ve gotten to know over the past few months.
But I’m encouraged by all the support people have been giving. A friend of mine works for Dirty Water Distillery in Massachusetts, and he shared their Facebook post that for a week, they would be sending some of their proceeds to three charities to aid during this time of conflict, one of them being WCK. I know many other businesses are doing the same, and as an individual, I’m making some donations as well.
It doesn’t feel like enough, but at least it’s something. And I’ll be thinking of those in Ukraine, or those seeking refuge elsewhere, and hoping they stay safe, and warm, and fed.