In the meantime, the chef and humanitarian has mobilized World Central Kitchen to help feed emergency dispatchers, sanitation workers, and families in need.

By Maria Yagoda / FoodandWine.com
April 03, 2020
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Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to put millions of people out of work, José Andrés has mobilized his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, to help feed emergency dispatchers, sanitation workers, and families in need all across the country. On Twitter, he's been a vocal advocate for government action to keep food banks funded and save small businesses, and on Thursday, he announced an impressive commitment to healthcare workers: Once his restaurants reopen, they'll eat for free for the rest of the year.

"This is my promise," he wrote in a tweet. "My mom and dad, and uncle, and godmother were nurses, doctors, pharmacist! When I reopen my restaurants, I hope I will, every active Doctor and Nurse will eat for free for the rest of the year!"

Andrés, who turned his D.C. and New York restaurants into community kitchensupon closing them, has World Central Kitchen sites around the country that are offering free meals to healthcare workers, laid-off hospitality workers, low-income communities, and more.

World Central Kitchen recently partnered with Help Feed the Frontline, a community effort to deliver meals to hospital workers in ICU and ER units of 11 L.A. area hospitals. "We don’t always get a chance to even eat, so to have something prepared for you and ready to go ... is priceless," radiology director Rikki Fulgoni told KTLA 5.

Small restaurants around the country have launched their own initiatives, too. In Fayetteville, AS, restaurant La Nueva Luna is bringing lunch to healthcare workers at Arkansas Children's Hospital Northwest. In Boston, Little Donkey has been hard at work making lunches for healthcare workers. In New York City, restaurants have been making meals to donate to overwhelmed hospitals, supported by donations from the community.

"In just three weeks, thanks to contributions from impassioned individuals from around the country, we’ve fed more than 800 healthcare workers in hospitals throughout the community and children in need during this pandemic," said JJ Johnson, chef at Fieldtrip in Harlem, on Instagram. "We've also been able to deliver hot meals to children in need."