Chefs, Food Writers Launch #CookForUkraine to Raise Funds for Displaced Children and Families

The organizers have already raised over $88,000 — here how to get involved at home.

A Ukrainian flag
Photo: Anastasiia Yanishevska / Getty Images

For the past week, chef José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen have been distributing food in Ukraine, and at the country's border with Poland. According to the World Central Kitchen Twitter account, the organization has been serving hot meals to refugees arriving at the train station in Lviv and in Przemysl, Poland; it partnered with restaurants in Kyiv to take food to hospitals and shelters; and Andrés himself drove from Poland to a bakery in Lviv to drop off 400-plus pounds of flour.

"We are the tip of the iceberg. A lot of things are happening," Andrés told the Washington Post. "The Polish government is doing their part. Individual organizations. The mayors of local towns."

While some restaurants have found ways to support Ukraine — like the Ukranian-owned San Antonio bakery that raised $77,000 for the country's defense fund last weekend — food industry vets are also working together to raise money and awareness for the Ukrainians who will suffer as this invasion intensifies. Ukrainian chef and food writer Olia Hercules, Russian cookbook author Dr. Alissa Timoskina, and Polish "storyteller cook" Zuza Zak have launched Cook for Ukraine, a fundraiser to raise money for the children's charity UNICEF.

"I don't want people to get stuck in the headlines and the bombs and to lose sight of the human beings behind this story," Hercules told inews.co.uk. "Ukraine is such a fascinating country that not everybody knew about before this, full of gorgeous green meadows and rich traditions of cooking and culture. But it is absolutely urgent that we act now."

There are multiple ways to participate in and donate to Cook for Ukraine. The first suggestion the organizers make is by hosting a #CookForUkraine supper club or bake sale, and donating the proceeds through the Cook For Ukraine Just Giving page. The second (and simplest) way is to share your own pictures, recipes, and stories on social media using the #CookForUkraine hashtag (and if you don't have a go-to Ukrainian recipe, there are over a dozen on the Just Giving page). And finally, you can just make a donation online through Just Giving. As of this writing, the organizers have raised over £67,000 ($88,580) for UNICEF UK's Ukraine Appeal to support children and families affected by the war.

"Like millions of Russians, I too have Ukrainian roots, and grew up on a beautiful diet of Ukrainian and Russian dishes," Timoshkina, the author of Salt and Time: Recipes from a Russian Kitchen, said. "My heart goes out to all the people of Ukraine! I thank you all for caring, and for putting the needs of children and their families first. Let's cook for peace, for freedom, for truth, for common sense, for rational thought and for love."

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