Downtown Naperville dining event set for April 12 will serve World Central Kitchen’s humanitarian efforts

Above / Signs of support are beginning to dot the local landscape regarding humanitarian needs in Ukraine. On Tues., April 12, 2022, several Downtown Naperville Chefs and merchants have collaborated to support WCK and Ukraine refugees with a dining event. (PN Photo)

Several restaurants and food shops in Downtown Naperville have joined #DowntownNapervilleChefsforUkraine to support World Central Kitchen’s efforts to provide hot meals to millions streaming across the Polish border from Ukraine. The local eateries have committed 25% of all proceeds from the event on Tues., April 12, to the effort to feed refugees.

Members of the hospitality community have noted that since 2010, World Central Kitchen (WCK) has been known to arrive on the frontlines, “providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises.” (WCK Photo)

Restaurants participating include Bev’s, Catch 35, Empire Burgers & Brew, Hizemans, The Lantern, Quiubo, Santo Cielo and SixtyFour Wine Bar. In addition, Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, Cinnaholic, Firecakes, Naper Nuts & Sweets and Sweet Home Gelato will take part in the fundraiser.

“Everyone is looking for a way to help with what is going on in the world,” noted Danielle Tufano, Executive Director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance, in a news release. “This gives us an opportunity to showcase our amazing downtown restaurants while supporting World Central Kitchen’s mission to provide meals to refugees on the border in Poland.”

A little recent history helps explain WCK humanitarian efforts 

On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a large-scale military operation on neighboring Ukraine, invading the country on several fronts. Since then, more than four million Ukrainians have fled, with that number expected to rise dramatically. The journey is daunting, with many Ukrainian families traveling for days without food, reports say.

Working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland, Chef José Andrés and World Central Kitchen began serving hot, nourishing meals within hours of the initial invasion, and are now serving round-the-clock dishes at eight border crossings across the country. Additionally, WCK is supporting local restaurants preparing meals in 12 Ukrainian cities including in Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv. WCK teams are also on the ground serving thousands of meals every day in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary. They were one of the first organizations on the ground when hurricanes devastated Puerto Rico. They also provided meals to out-of-work restaurant workers in New York City during the Pandemic.

World Central Kitchen initiatives serve meals to refugees

As of last week, World Central Kitchen has provided well over one million hot meals to Ukrainian refugees.  WCK will continue to help in the best way they know how, with a freshly prepared plate of food—and they are ready to expand their support for families in need.

The #DowntownNapervilleChefsforUkraine fundraiser was suggested by Loren Beadle, owner of SixtyFour Wine Bar on Water Street.

“We think this is one of the best possible missions happening in the world right now,” Beadle says. “It’s one thing to provide sandwiches for people. The fact that Chef Andrés sets up full kitchens in challenging conditions to provide hot meals to refugees is a really special effort we feel great supporting. We’re going to be doing this in our South Carolina location as well.”

To support the effort, simply dine or take out from one of the participating restaurants or buy from one of the other participating shops anytime on Tues., April 12.

Submitted by Deborah Newman Marketing/Communications.  

Editor’s Note: In a related initiative to raise funds for World Central Kitchen, five dining establishments at CityGate Centre hosted a dining event on March 15, 2022.

On March 31, PN observed a media report that Chef José Andrés continues to set up food stations along Poland’s border and in locations toward the capital of Ukraine, partnering with 85 restaurants in seven countries to fulfil his humanitarian mission. Andrés’ World Central Kitchen, founded in 2010, is known to arrive first to the frontlines, “providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises while working to build resilient food systems with locally led solutions.” Near the borders of Ukraine, WCK has been feeding families in need, serving 300,000 meals a day to individuals that Andrés’ considers “people of goodness” who need unity in their quest for “democracy, liberty and what is right.”

All donations, any amount, are appreciated. Click here to contribute to World Central Kitchen.

PN readers also have suggested supporting concerted humanitarian efforts led by the American Red Cross and/or Samaritan’s Purse and/or American Humane.

Note also that Casey’s Foods, located in Naperville Plaza, will match donations of any size up to the first $10,000 raised now through April 30, 2022, for Samaritan’s Purse, the nonprofit organization that’s operating several field medical clinics to help the Ukrainian people. 

Thanks to all who serve during this international challenge to fulfill unmet needs that make a difference.