Just a week after #ChefsForCalifornia re-activated to respond to the Carr Fire in Northern California, a second kitchen has been opened to support firefighters and evacuees impacted by the Mendocino Complex Fire, just two hours south of our previous activation. This kitchen will expand our capacity to support nine shelters that are housing evacuees who have lost their homes.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has become the largest wildfire in California’s history, consuming hundreds of thousands of acres of land with a devastating impact on surrounding communities. World Central Kitchen has a strong track record of working side by side with firefighters and first responders, providing them with hot meals that provide them with needed strength after long days of risking their lives to contain the fires, and have served and delivered over 30,000 meals to date.

“This is probably the first cooked meal we’ve had in a few weeks,” one of the firefighters from the front lines remarked. “We really do appreciate it.” Some of the meals that have been making their way to these units include a hearty beef stew, braised chipotle beef fajitas, and a rosemary nectarine chicken salad.

At the same time that WCK’s Chef Relief Team is supporting firefighters with hearty meals, we’re providing the comfort of food to dozens of families in evacuation centers who have lost their homes or are awaiting additional news. Thanks to an incredible team of volunteers, we’re able to provide some semblance of normalcy during difficult times. Kathlin, a volunteer with our Food First Responder partner Operation BBQ Relief, said that “to break bread with others and to feel part of a community — even though it’s a natural disaster — that’s the human experience.”

World Central Kitchen continues to monitor the containment level of both the Carr and Medocino Complex Fires and will evaluate our response plan accordingly. Follow #ChefsForCalifornia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and support or join our relief operations here.