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  • The Food World Supports Ukraine

    Denise Purcell

    The humanitarian disaster in Ukraine is the latest example of food industry support. Since Russia launched its invasion, chefs, food organizations, foodservice operators, and grocers have hosted events, mobilized resources, and pledged funds on both widescale levels for large chains and local efforts by restaurants and independents. Below you’ll find a summary of some efforts to support the impact of the devastation. 

    • Chef José Andrés’ nonprofit food relief organization World Central Kitchen has volunteers in Poland, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia, and Hungary, serving over one million meals to Ukrainians as they flee the country. The organization has more than 330 distribution points in 55 cities. WCK is also working with dozens of chefs and restaurant partners in 12 cities within Ukraine to serve those who remain in the country. 
    • Within Ukraine, Ievgen Klopotenko, winner of MasterChef Ukraine in 2015, has turned his restaurant into a bomb shelter for feeding civilians and Ukrainian fighters. 
    • The Fresh Market is running a fundraising campaign through April 12 in which proceeds from register donations and through the sale of special bouquets made with sunflowers, Ukraine’s national flower, will be given to World Central Kitchen. 
    • Bake for Ukraine is a worldwide bake sale launched on Feb. 26 that allows independent bakers to raise money for organizations like World Central Kitchen, International Rescue Committee, and Sunflower of Peace. 
    • Aldi company Aldi Sud, headquartered in Essen, Germany, about 1,100 miles from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, has donated 5 million Euros for immediate and long-term humanitarian aid. Aldi UK, part of Aldi Sud, is offering jobs to Ukrainian refugees.
    • Kroger is sending emergency food assistance to refugees through a monetary grant from The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation to the United Nations World Food Program’s Ukraine Emergency Fund. Kroger will match all gifts made by its associates and customers, up to $250,000. 
    • Restaurants across the U.S. hosted fundraisers to donate proceeds. In Chicago, Wherewithall, operated by Johnny Clark, a Ukrainian-American chef, and Beverly Kim, launched a Ukrainian menu and donated a portion of proceeds to Razom for Ukraine, a pro-democracy nonprofit. Brooklyn’s pierogi restaurant Pierozek ran a similar event to support Ukrainian Armed Forces. In Portland, Kachka restaurant donated all proceeds from its Chervona Wine Cocktail to the Red Cross’ humanitarian efforts in Ukraine. 
    • Southeastern Grocers, parent company of WinnDixie grocery stores, Harveys Supermarket, and Fresco y Más, donated 100 percent of proceeds from its private-label Ukrainian vodka in the month of March to the International Committee of the Red Cross.  
    • Shoppers at Publix can add donations to register totals and all funds will go toward the Red Cross’ work to distribute food, medicine, and medical supplies to Ukrainians impacted by the war. 
    • Grocery distributor and retailer SpartanNash enlisted its military division to send supplies like baby formula, energy drinks, and over-the-counter medications to Poland. The company has pledged $1 million to support the humanitarian disaster. 

    This is just a small sample of activities going on throughout the food world. If you know of more that should be highlighted, want to share what you are doing in your own businesses and communities, or have an idea about how to help, please join our conversation here on the specialtyfood.com Community Hub.


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