Chef Jose Andres Steps Up to Help Restaurants and the Hungry

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Finally, a story of hope and salvation.

As many people go hungry because of financial downfall and restaurants shutter, there’s a glimmer of hope. A chef has decided to solve two problems by introducing them to one another.

Hungry people, meet restaurants. Restaurants, meet hungry people.

It took celebrity chef Jose Andres to make the connection – and now he’s a man on a mission.

Andres is the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit that pays local restaurants to prepare hot meals for those who are hungry. Since April, nearly 175,000 meals have been served across Baltimore. That ensures that $1 million goes right back to the community.

It’s ingenious, really.

There’s no reason for people to be hungry and for restaurants to be closed due to a lack of customers. Restaurants need to thrive – and that means having the money they need to pay their staff.

Chef Andres decided that it was time to put the two problems together. Restaurants are able to keep their kitchens running and their employees employed. Meanwhile, the hungry in Baltimore can be well fed without standing in hunger lines in the rain and snow.

One of the restaurants Andres has been working at is Breaking Bread. The chef and owner, Kimberly Ellis, said she wouldn’t still be in business if it weren’t for this nonprofit.

Chef Andres has set up shop at Catherine’s Family Services in order to work with volunteers and hand out hundreds of meals every day along with fresh food.

It’s from the community, for the community. Andres is urging other chefs to roll out similar programs in cities all across the country.

Andres is taking it a step further by asking Congress to allow those who are going hungry every day to be allowed to spend their food stamps and SNAP dollars in restaurants. He explains how it’s a simple solution to a complex problem.

The hungry need the help and raw ingredients don’t always help because they don’t have access to kitchens or have the know-how to cook. Restaurants need the help so that they can keep their doors open and prevent their employees from going on unemployment.

Andres has shown that the problem can be solved. There’s no need to require the federal government to bail restaurants out. Let people buy what they need with what they’ve already been given by the government. The hungry have the resources to buy the food. And the restaurants would rather make meals for those that go hungry than to close their doors and accept grants from the government.

Employees, too, would rather work toward a greater cause and receive a paycheck than be sitting at home collecting unemployment.

Let the economy work itself out. Let’s be more fiscally responsible and take care of two of the greatest needs in America right now by combining them. One problem solves the other – and it’s so simple.

Andres has been doing this for months now and it’s made a huge difference in the community.

As the celebrity chef explains, it’s boots on the ground proving that the programs work, and they can “uplift communities one meal at a time.”

World Central Kitchen is popping up with their programs all over the country. Chef Kris O’Connor has been working with her team to feed the people in Nashville. Juan’s Mexican Café & Cantina has been taking care of those in Newport News, Virginia. Chef Adija has been helping in Milwaukee, and the list of cities participating is growing.

World Central Kitchen has been providing the restaurants with the funds needed to feed the hungry and the #ChefsForTheWorld hashtag makes it easy to see where the help is going. Chef Andres has advice to everyone: “If you are lost, share a plate of food with a stranger…you will find who you are.”

It’s amazing to see how simple solutions are created when the politics are taken out of a situation. Who needs to bankrupt the federal government when solutions like this are in place?