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Chef José Andrés and his team are feeding Ukrainians on the front lines of the war

Chef José Andrés is working to feed Ukrainians as the Russian invasion has upended daily life.
Chip Somodevilla
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Chef José Andrés is working to feed Ukrainians as the Russian invasion has upended daily life.

Updated March 13, 2022 at 3:57 PM ET

Those fleeing the violence in Ukraine could spend days traveling before they're able to reach safety.

That's why famed chef José Andrés, through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, quickly set up facilities across the country to provide meals for people fleeing the war. They were on the ground in Ukraine one day after the Russian invasion.

"Why we are so quick? Because we don't plan. We don't meet. We come, and we begin cooking," Andrés told NPR's Michel Martin.

The nonprofit, which partnered with restaurants in the country, is serving food at hundreds of locations in 12 Ukrainian cities, he said. It also has sites in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia for refugees who crossed the border to safety.

"It kind of breaks your heart, because you wonder why we need to be putting young people – men and women – in this situation of having to go to defend their country and putting their lives at risk. Nothing makes sense," Andrés said from the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.

"At least, feeding people is what makes sense. Longer tables, people working together to make sure that one plate of food at a time we can bring hope of a better tomorrow," he added.

Andrés urged people to call on their political leaders to find solutions to end the war in Ukraine, which has been raging for more than two weeks.

NPR's Taylor Hutchison produced this story for broadcast. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joe Hernandez

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