Released: June 26, 2020
Having served more than 50,000 free, fresh meals to area communities, Santa Fe Community College and World Central Kitchen concluded its food distribution initiative on Friday, June 26. World Central Kitchen, led by world famous chef and humanitarian Chef José Andrés, partnered with Santa Fe Community College to help feed community members experiencing food insecurity during the covid-19 pandemic. After 10 weeks and as businesses and restaurants have begun to reopen, the partners determined it was an appropriate moment to conclude operations. The initiative was supported by SFCC Foundation.
“WCK is really proud of this project. It’s the first community college program we’ve partnered with, and together we pioneered a new way future chefs can be trained,” said Chef Andrés. “It’s not just about teaching fine dining, it’s showing students how food can strengthen, uplift and unite a community.”
“Everyone in Santa Fe is deeply grateful for the hard work of so many people, particularly the chefs at SFCC, the Youthworks delivery team, and most importantly World Central Kitchen for providing the funds and the vision for this project,” said Alan Webber, Mayor of Santa Fe.
“We are honored to have been chosen by World Central Kitchen to serve our students, their families and the community,” said SFCC President Becky Rowley, Ph.D. “Our Culinary Arts students, whose classes were suspended due to the coronavirus, received the education of a lifetime learning to prepare hundreds of meals at a time. In addition, we are extremely grateful to YouthWorks, our local chefs, and all the volunteers for their support.”
SFCC Culinary Arts Lead Instructor Chef Jerry Dakan oversaw the operation and Culinary Lab Technician Brian Erle managed the procurement process. Working with local chefs, Culinary Arts students, alumni, faculty and staff volunteers, SFCC made and portioned out meals to serve families. Many of the meals included vegetables grown in SFCC’s Controlled Environment Agriculture’s greenhouse.
“What this partnership revealed was how many folks in Santa Fe County were willing to roll up their sleeves to serve their community,” said Robert Egger, World Central Kitchen board member and food security liaison to the City of Santa Fe. “The 50,000 scratch-cooked meals we made were traditional, healthy and beautiful, but it’s the strength of the community here that’s the real takeaway.”
The group partnered with the Santa Fe Public Schools to distribute meals for students and their families. YouthWorks, which trains and employs young people, distributed the majority of the meals, including to Pueblo communities. Santa Fe County, along with the Street Food Institute’s mobile kitchen helped to distribute meals in small communities such as Madrid, Nambé, Edgewood and Glorieta, often using volunteer fire stations as distribution points. Numerous college and community volunteers, including well-known local chefs, donated their time and expertise. Nursing students screened all project participants on a daily basis.
“The 50,000-meal mark is a milestone, but our Foundation work is not done. The long-term economic ramifications of covid-19 are not fully known, and food insecurity will continue to be an issue,” said Carmen Gonzales, Ph.D., SFCC Foundation board president. “We are grateful to the community for its ongoing support as we turn to our next goal, ensuring SFCC students can concentrate on their studies in the new academic year without suffering from hunger or worrying where their next meal will come from.” Gifts to support students can be made to the Student Emergency Assistance Fund.
SFCC’s Dean of Trades, Advanced Technologies and Sustainability Camilla Bustamante, Ph.D., MPH, coordinated the efforts following CDC protocols and with guidance and structure from National Incident Management and Incident Command Systems and in alignment with SFCC’s Community Emergency Response Team. Bustamante previously served as an environmental health emergency relief responder and was a former manager with the Bureau of Health Emergency Management. SFCC Dean of Sciences, Health, Engineering and Math, Jenny Landen, R.N., M.S.N., FNP-BC, oversaw the screening procedures.
About World Central Kitchen. Founded in 2010 by Chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen (WCK) uses the power of food to heal and strengthen communities through times of crisis and beyond. WCK has transformed the field of disaster response to help devastated communities recover and establish resilient food systems. Since its founding, WCK has served more than 17 million meals to those impacted by natural disasters and other crises around the world in countries including Albania, The Bahamas, Colombia, Guatemala, Haiti, Mexico, Mozambique, Spain, Venezuela, and the United States. Learn more at WCK.org.
About WCK’s covid-19 Relief Efforts. World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most. WCK is activating hundreds of restaurants and kitchens to feed marginalized and vulnerable communities and the brave medical professionals on the front lines, in order to make a meaningful impact in the fight to keep everyone fed, and to support the distressed restaurant industry. A nourishing meal in a time of crisis is much more than a plate of food—it’s hope, it’s dignity, it’s a sign that someone cares about you and that you are not alone.
For more than 35 years, Santa Fe Community College has been the gateway to success for individuals and the community by providing affordable, high quality educational programs that serve the social, cultural, technological, and economic needs of a diverse community. SFCC is a designated Best for Vets and Military Friendly school. The college serves more than 12,000 students per year in its credit, noncredit and adult programs. For further information, visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000. Follow us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn.