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Chef José Andrés To Give Free Meals To Federal Workers Affected By Shutdown

The celebrity chef’s nonprofit World Central Kitchen usually brings free meals to disaster victims, as it did after the California wildfires and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Celebrity chef José Andrés, famous for providing free meals to disaster victims, will be serving food to a new population in need: U.S. federal workers affected by the partial government shutdown.  

Starting Wednesday, Andrés’ nonprofit World Central Kitchen will have a kitchen set up near the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., providing free meals to “any federal family that needs food,” the chef announced in a video posted to Twitter Monday.  

“World Central Kitchen is always there to respond to any disaster to make sure that Americans and people around the world will not go without a plate of food,” Andrés said. “Today we face another type of disaster emergency in the United States: More than 800,000 federal workers are without a job.”  

“We believe that no person should have to go through the pain of not knowing what to feed their children,” he added.  

Four weeks into the shutdown ― the longest in U.S. history ― President Donald Trump has shown no sign of budging on his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, which Democratic lawmakers have firmly opposed.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed or working without pay since late December. Thousands of contract workers ― including low-wage employees like janitors or food service workers ― have also been left out of work, and with no hope of receiving retroactive pay.

World Central Kitchen’s #ChefsForFeds initiative will offer hot meals, sandwiches and salads, onsite and to-go, for federal workers with valid government ID, the group said in a release. Spokespeople for the group have not confirmed if contract workers would be eligible for meals.

Starting Wednesday, the group’s kitchen will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time.

In the past, Andrés’ nonprofit has served free meals to survivors of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017, migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and victims of the California wildfires in 2018.