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José and the World Central Kitchen Team Respond to India’s Covid Surge

June 2021

In the weeks and months following the massive Covid surge across India, José’s nonprofit organization World Central Kitchen has served more than 840,000 nourishing meals to hospital workers on the frontlines of the health crisis. While the largest spike of infections has passed in the big cities like Delhi and Mumbai, smaller cities and rural areas are now seeing an increase in Covid cases. Across India, between 1,000 and 2,000 people are still losing their lives every day—and medical staff have continued working under incredibly difficult circumstances to care for people in need.

José traveled with a small WCK team to Mumbai in late May to support local chefs who have been cooking for their communities. Along with India’s superstar Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, an old friend of José’s, the team is serving freshly prepared meals to more than 35 locations in 15 cities across 11 states. José and Sanjeev originally met through their joint work to promote clean cooking globally, but this was their first time together in India. José learned to make dal – cooked lentils – and Gulab Jamun, a favorite fried sweet soaked in a fragrant sugary syrup.

In order to move quickly and reach hospitals across India, WCK joined forces with Taj Sats, which has airplane catering kitchens in many large cities, and Taj Hotels to utilize local hotel kitchens in smaller cities and towns. This has enabled the operation to scale up quickly and adapt to the shifting needs as the dangerous Delta variant of Covid spikes in different areas of India.

While this is the first time WCK has worked in India, it is certainly not the last. The organization has a partnership with Archewell Foundation, a nonprofit run by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, to establish Community Relief Centers around the world. The first Center was built in Dominica earlier this year, and development for the second is underway in Puerto Rico. WCK and Archewell recently announced the third Center will be in Mumbai, India, to help build resilience in the face of future crises.

To learn more about WCK, or to support the organization’s work, visit wck.org or follow on Twitter  or Instagram.