Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, more than 2.5 Ukrainians have fled the country as refugees. Working at a 24-hour pedestrian border crossing in southern Poland, World Central Kitchen (WCK) began serving hot, nourishing meals within hours of the initial invasion and are now set up at eight border crossings across the country.
Additionally, WCK are supporting local restaurants preparing meals in eight Ukrainian cities including in Odessa, Lviv, and Kyiv. WCK teams are also on the ground in Romania, Moldova, and Hungary. As the situation continues to evolve, WCK will continue to help in the best way they know how, with a freshly prepared plate of food. They are also ready to expand our support for families in need.
You can help WCK bring meals to these refugees HERE.
Here are some stories (as told by WCK) of how Ukrainian refugees have been greeted by a warm and nourishing meal:
After crossing into Romania with her two sons, Iryna had no idea that she would receive so much help-local sim cards, warm shelter, and fresh meals throughout the day. After working abroad for many years, she went back to her home town in Ukraine to build something for herself-a small business, a house, and providing her kids with an excellent education. Now leaving everything behind, she's on her way to Italy to meet with her daughter and two-month old niece who managed to escape faster.
"I never thought that going to Florence would make me so sad. That place is the most beautiful city I've ever been to. I'm not afraid to work and start over - I just don't want my children to know the feeling of fear, it's been paralyzing me for the last few days."
Gio is a musician who arrived in Kyiv 15 years ago after his home country was attacked in 2008-making this his second time being a war refugee. When Gio heard the first bombings he immediately knew he had to take his family and leave. He's constantly thinking about his friends who have stayed behind because he is unsure if they have shelter or food.
"Every smile or piece of help I get from all the people here is turning the light on in my heart."
At the main train station in Suceava, Romania, our team met little Evelina. Evelina's mother first heard bombings at 6am-she took both Evelina and her own mother into the basement of their apartment building, but there wasn't enough space for them to stay there. They were able to find shelter at a local hospital, where they stayed safely in the basement for two days.
The family then fled for the Romanian border, a trip that took several days. Evelina's mother said she tried to avoid listening to the radio or any news from the attacks. Once safe in Romania, Evelina had her first hot meal since the journey began - fresh spinach pasta with a creamy sauce prepared by WCK partner Bazzil.