The local team behind #ChefsForVenezuela

WCK’s Chef Relief Team has been serving meals to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia for the past 3 months. #ChefsForVenezuela has been made possible in large part because of the local team, all of whom are from Venezuela themselves, showing up each day to cook and deliver meals for their neighbors. Here are some of their stories.

This is Gabby and she came to Colombia on February 23rd wanting to help with getting humanitarian aid into Venezuela. When the bridge was closed and she was stuck in Cúcuta, she found WCK and began working to help her Venezuelan brothers and sisters. Her 19-year-old daughter is in Medellín, Colombia, and her 14-year-old son is in Venezuela. She misses him a lot but doesn’t want to bring him over until things become more stable.

Jairo is 24 years old and also came to Colombia on February 23rd. He’s been with WCK since then and does all sorts of jobs in the kitchen, including slicing vegetables, cooking meat, packing, and then loading the truck. He wants to return home to Venezuela as soon as possible.

José was a master builder back in Venezuela. Like the others, he came to Colombia at the end of February. His sister has been in Bogotá since the end of December, but his mother is still in Venezuela. He sends her some money whenever possible.

Our work is also made possible by our partners. Over the past month, WCK has received 2 tons of fresh produce per week, totaling 10 tons to date, from Acceso Colombia, a social business who sources crops from local smallholder farmers and connects them to secure markets, typically selling to large Colombian retailers. The donations have helped our feeding needs while generating income for farmers to improve their livelihoods. They were generously funded by Frank Giustra, co-founder of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP) who builds and manages social businesses aimed at reducing poverty and is a WCK partner across multiple programs and initiatives.

So far, WCK has served more than 350,000 meals to Venezuelan refugees. In total, our team has supported 36 different locations along the refugee path and outfitted or enhanced 5 kitchens for more sustainable cooking. In addition to cooking hot meals, WCK is providing produce for shelters along the route. Below, you can see the locations we are serving and the road refugees must walk from Cúcuta to Bucaramanga.

Map of active kitchens and delivery locations.