Early Thanksgiving morning, WCK’s relief kitchens in Paradise, CA were aflutter with energy. Volunteers began peeling potatoes, rows of turkeys were lined up waiting to be smoked, and an army of pumpkin pies were lined up for the ovens, just waiting to be baked. Anywhere you went, you could feel the energy and excitement of Thanksgiving – even in a town like Paradise, which just a few weeks ago was completely destroyed by the Camp Fire.
World Central Kitchen teamed up with the Town of Paradise, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and Chico State University to host Thanksgiving Together, a meal for those displaced by the wildfires, as well as those risking their lives to respond to the fire, like firefighters and first responders. As chefs, we understand the power of a hot plate of food to bring comfort in times of need, and that vision was no better realized than on Thanksgiving, when families around the country gather to share in community, gratitude, and of course, good food.
With help from WCK founder José Andrés, Guy Fieri, and Tyler Florence, over 1,000 volunteers (including restaurant owners from Paradise who lost their homes and firefighters) came together to chop, slice, sauté, bake and serve meals at Chico State, as well as make deliveries to Red Cross shelters, emergency operations centers, and other displaced families. To host the massive feast, our team prepared 7000 pounds of turkeys, 3,500 pounds of mashed potatoes with 100 gallons of gravy, 3,000 pounds of green beans, 500 pounds of fresh cranberries, and 1,000 pumpkin pies.
Thank you for helping us to bring the comfort of a warm Thanksgiving meal to thousands of people in Paradise. Where there’s a fight so that hungry people might eat, we’ll be there. View more photos from #ThanksgivingTogether below.