While thousands of people were ordered to evacuate the Bahamas ahead of Hurricane Dorian, chef José Andrés flew in. The James Beard Award–winning chef and his nonprofit relief organization, World Central Kitchen, are already on the ground in Nassau preparing meals to bring to those affected by the storm in Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.
Hurricane Dorian barreled into the Abaco Islands on Sunday night as a Category 5 before coming to a standstill over Grand Bahama on Monday. The storm became the strongest hurricane to directly hit the Bahamas in modern history, dumping thirty inches of rain on the islands and causing life-threatening storm surges, according to CNN, which led to the deaths of at least five people.
Andrés and his team set up shop last Friday in the kitchens of the Atlantis, Paradise Island hotel, where they are preparing thousands of ham sandwiches to deliver to survivors after the storm. Even some of the hotel guests have pitched in to help assemble meals, Andrés said in an Instagram video. The hotel, like the rest of Nassau, was largely spared from Dorian’s destruction.
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UPDATE from on the ground in Bahamas where I am with our @wckitchen team! We are safe south of #HurricaneDorian but this storm is massive!! We are preparing our response to provide meals after Dorian passes. We also have teams in Florida ready to go if it doesn’t turn north!! #ChefsForBahamas #ChefsForFlorida
The nonprofit has also mapped out shelters and partnered with kitchens across the islands to which they’ll deploy to prepare hot food once the storm passes. The team hopes to begin delivering food to the Abaco Islands today and Grand Bahama Island tomorrow, depending on weather conditions, Nate Mook, the executive director of World Central Kitchen, tells Garden & Gun.
Although the hurricane has caused widespread devastation in the Bahamas, Andrés and his team are prepared to get cooking no matter the wreckage—as they have in the aftermath of several recent storms, which Andres discussed in an interview with G&G last year. “If the kitchens are destroyed, we build one and cook in big paella pans,” Andrés tweeted. The organization is bringing mobile kitchen equipment so it can serve up hot meals even if a standard kitchen isn’t available, Mook says. World Central Kitchen also plans to station a boat offshore that it can operate out of, if necessary.
The slow-moving nature of Hurricane Dorian makes quick response all the more important, as people have been stranded without power and food for days, Mook says. It was critical for Andrés to be on the ground in the Bahamas ready to react. “He is a ‘jump right in’ kind of guy,” Mook says. “He also recognizes that when people are hungry, they’re hungry now.”
World Central Kitchen expects to be serving meals in the Bahamas for at least the next few weeks. If you’d like to contribute to World Central Kitchen’s relief efforts, you can make a monetary donation here. Donations are used almost exclusively for food costs, Mook says. You can also sign up for volunteer opportunities here.
Other ways you can help:
This Virginia-based nonprofit is preparing to send two water purification units to the Bahamas to help with drinking water after the storm. You can donate by Paypal or card.
The humanitarian organization is dedicated to providing medical supplies in the wake of disasters. Direct Relief has pre-positioned medical supplies across the Bahamas for use during the storm and is prepared to deploy emergency resources.
Several locations across Miami-Dade County will be accepting supply donations to send to the Bahamas. The county asks that donations be limited to items specifically requested from the government of the Bahamas, such as water, hygiene kits, mosquito repellant, blankets, and other supplies listed on miamidade.gov.
In partnership with the Bahamas Consulate General in Miami, the nonprofit is accepting monetary donations online as well as non-perishable food, clothes, and toiletries at several physical drop-off locations around Miami.
This international organization partners with vetted local nonprofits in the aftermath of disasters to supply emergency needs and long-term recovery. Funds in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian will be used to meet survivors’ immediate needs of food, water, and hygiene products.