World Central Kitchen is a non-profit, non-governmental organization geared towards providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate, and community crises for over 10 years now. In response to the Russian invasion in Ukraine that sparked on Thursday last week, the group mobilized its efforts to serve hot meals to thousands of Ukrainians who remain in the country or have fled to neighboring nations.
"We were watching as families were fleeing across the border into Poland and other countries and so immediately we activated our team," World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook told Fox News. Just a day after the Russian invasion began, the nonprofit teamed up with local chefs and restaurants and began distributing hot meals at the 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland. The group has also sent teams to several refugee shelters and other border crossings in nearby Romania, Hungary and Moldova.
Mook shared that the first step was to get people on the ground as swiftly as possible, including himself. He shared that the feeding of thousands of Ukrainian refugees amid the Russian invasion continued "throughout the day and all through the night." World Central Kitchen has already served tens of thousands of meals since they began on Friday and are expected to distribute 25,000 more on Tuesday, Mook said.
"We're just moving as quickly as possible to get as much food to those that need it," Mook shared, adding that it has already been a daunting journey for the group amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine. "We're talking to a lot of Ukrainians and others who are fleeing Ukraine, and they're traveling for days."
Mook said he has met refugees who have traveled so far to get away from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He shared that he met a Ukrainian woman who walked 40 miles towards the Poland border and had to wait another 12 hours to cross it. He also met a young woman from Kyiv who walked for two days to reach the border into Ukraine without a single hot meal.
Mook said that most of the people the nonprofit teams have met were "in a state of shock" because no one "expected it to intensify this quickly" or expected to "have to just literally run away from their homes, sometimes their families and friends." The nonprofit teams have also set up humanitarian efforts alongside restaurants in two Ukrainian cities, Odessa and Lviv to assist families who have not been able to leave yet.
On Monday, Ukrainian and Russian delegates met for the first time for peace negotiations that went on for hours. According to CBS News, Ukraine's key demands were for Russia's immediate ceasefire and withdrawal of their troops on Ukrainian soil. However, Russian delegates said that the Monday meeting ended early in the evening and that they were heading to their respective capitals to discuss the negotiations.
Russia continued its unprovoked assault in a location near the border with Belarus, shelling major cities. Ukrainian defense officials said that the country's second largest city Kharkiv came under intense artillery fire after their forces captured it from Russian troops.