Tell us about your role with Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry campaign or World Central Kitchen. How did you get involved with either organization and why is the work important to you?
Estes: From 1992 to 1995, I worked for Share Our Strength and helped launch their Cooking Matters campaign, which teaches families to cook and shop for healthy meals on a limited budget. After relocating to Seattle, WA, I helped organize Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation events. In 2019, I rode 300 miles as part of the Chefs Cycle for No Kid Hungry — after not having been on a bike for over 20 years!
During the pandemic, Farm to Pantry received a grant from Share Our Strength to fuel our work. As a chef, I thrive on immediate gratification: You cook the food, they eat the food, they like the food, they tell you. It’s pretty simple. At Farm to Pantry, we harvest in the morning and deliver to families facing food insecurity in the afternoon. Seeing a fragrant ripe peach or a gorgeous head of lettuce land on everyone’s table is an incredible reward. A peach can change your day.
Deleon: I first heard about World Central Kitchen in 2018 when there was a massive volcanic eruption in Antigua, Guatemala. WCK mobilized quickly and brought food to the people that had lost their homes. I was in awe at what an amazing organization WCK was and remained extremely grateful for how WCK had helped my country.
Fast forward to 2020 when the pandemic hit, I had the opportunity to work directly under their #ChefsForAmerica program, making thousands of meals each week for the Sunday Love Project, an organization that helps feed Philadelphia’s homeless and vulnerable populations. We continued working together for #ChefsForThe Polls, making food for the essential workers counting the votes in the Convention Center during the recent presidential election. Despite the pandemic, partnering with WCK has been among the most rewarding experiences, for both myself and my team.
Late last year, there were two massive hurricanes that hit Guatemala. Again, the first ones to help were the heroes at WCK. It is an organization that helps those in need across the world.
Toups: We started working with WCK in May of 2020. We had been helping feed our communities in need since March of 2020, but WCK’s help and much needed funding, allowed us to continue on and to expand our efforts even further. With WCK’s support, we were able to bring back many of our staff members and even hire additional support. We will never be able to adequately express our gratitude for the much-needed assistance at this difficult time.