The World Central Kitchen founder discusses food waste and how a baseball stadium becomes a "gigantic restaurant" in times of crisis.
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Jose Andres
Credit: Panera Bread

Food insecurity is an issue millions in the U.S. face every day, but the economic hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on just how quickly many more Americans can suddenly find themselves struggling to have enough to eat.  Feeding America estimates the number of people who were in households that were food insecure at some point during the year jumped from about 35 million in 2019 to possibly over 50 million in 2020.

As one of the food world's leading humanitarians, Chef José Andrés has been battling hunger for years as one of the many initiatives of his non-profit, World Central Kitchen. And today, a new partnership was announced in this fight against food insecurity in America: Panera Bread.

From today until March 31, Panera will donate $1 from every whole sandwich purchased directly from one of their company locations to World Central Kitchen—up to $100,000 in total. In addition, the chain has also released a five-minute episode of the brand's ongoing YouTube series "Food, Interrupted" entitled "Hunger, Interrupted," giving Andrés a platform to further discuss his charity's work.

"I am grateful to have support from Panera Bread as World Central Kitchen works nationwide to feed those that are hungry," Andrés said in the announcement. "One plate at a time, one sandwich at a time, we can improve and change the world."

Yesterday, Panera also donated meals from locations in Andrés' adopted hometown of Washington, D.C. to the local charity Martha's Table. "Joining forces with a great chef and humanitarian like José Andrés has been inspiring—we had an amazing conversation about the importance of access to fresh, quality food and ingredients," Claes Petersson, Panera's chief food innovation officer, stated. "Panera partners with more than 3,500 local food banks and pantries annually because we believe everyone deserves access to good food. Now more than ever, it's important to give back and ensure those in need have access to freshly made meals—we hope that guests join our efforts in the fight against hunger."

You can also donate money directly to World Central Kitchen on their website at wck.org.