TAMPA, Florida — Call it food on the move. When your ingredients come in by the semi-truck load, you’re talking colossal cooking.
A disaster response team from World Central Kitchen has set up shop at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa. They’re preparing both hot and cold meals for survivors of Hurricane Ian. It’s what WCK does around the globe when things go bad.
“Food is a basic human need,” said Fiona Donovan, Director of Relief Operations for WCK. “It’s a way to say, ‘We care about you, we’re thinking about you and we want to help get you through this difficult time.’”
Metro’s kitchen was designed just for this task; it’s well above sea level and can be powered by a generator.
“So, it’s really important that we do our part. There’s so much hurt out there, said Metropolitan Ministries CEO Tim Marks. “We’ve seen the devastation and the only way this [food relief] happens, is if we all work together.”
Hundreds of volunteers also make up this mission of mercy. Some are familiar faces like WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil, who put his muscles to work lifting big containers full of meals. “It’s times like these that we see how great America can be,” he said of the food relief effort.
Other volunteers are just ordinary citizens like Kelly Marcinek. She’s been making sandwich after sandwich after sandwich. All the volunteer name tags read “HOPE” and that’s exactly what goes between each slice of bread.
“I’m making all these sandwiches with love; hope and love, that’s all we can do,” said Marcinek, who encouraged others to volunteer.
While people in Tampa can also get food supplies from Metropolitan Ministries, most of the prepared meals are being trucked down to places hard-hit by Ian. As many as 20,000 meals a day will be given out at food distribution sites in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Port Charlotte.