Celebrity chef José Andrés, famous for providing free meals to disaster victims, will be serving food to a new population in need: U.S. federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown.
Starting Wednesday, Andrés’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen will have a kitchen set up near the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., providing free meals to “any federal family that needs food,” the chef announced in a video posted to Twitter Monday.
“World Central Kitchen is always there to respond to any disaster to make sure that Americans and people around the world will not go without a plate of food,” Andrés said. “Today we face another type of disaster emergency in the United States: More than 800,000 federal workers are without a job.”
“We believe that no person should have to go through the pain of not knowing what to feed their children,” he added.
Four weeks into the shutdown ― the longest in U.S. history ― President Donald Trump has shown no sign of budging on his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which Democratic lawmakers have firmly opposed.
Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed or working without pay since late December. Thousands of contract workers ― including low-wage employees like janitors or food service workers ― have also been left out of work, and with no hope of receiving retroactive pay.
World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForFeds initiative will offer hot meals, sandwiches and salads, onsite and to-go, for federal workers with valid government ID, the group said in a release. Spokespeople for the group have not confirmed if contract workers would be eligible for meals.
Starting Wednesday, the group’s kitchen will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.
In the past, Andrés’ nonprofit has served free meals to survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and victims of the California wildfires in 2018.