They have spent much of the year carefully building their not-for-profit organisation Archewell, and now the Sussexes are ready to announce the first fruits of their labour – building relief centres that will help feed people in disaster-stricken areas.
A spokesperson for Archewell confirmed to www.bazaar.com that Harry and Meghan have forged a philanthropic partnership with food relief charity World Central Kitchen, to provide funding to construct four special Community Relief Centres around the world.
The permanent structures will be activated as service kitchens during crises, such as natural disasters or health pandemics, but will also be equipped to provide continued support to local communities with food distribution, schooling, clinics, and safe spaces for families and children. The centres will be the first for World Central Kitchen, which has distributed 50 million meals across 17 countries since it was founded by celebrity chef and restauranteur José Andrés during Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010.
“The health of our communities depends on our ability to connect to our shared humanity,” the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said in an email statement shared with www.bazaar.com. “When we think about Chef Andrés and his incredible team at World Central Kitchen, we're reminded that even during a year of unimaginable hardship, there are so many amazing people willing – and working tirelessly – to support each other. World Central Kitchen inspires us through compassion in action.”
Work is already currently underway on the not-for-profit’s first Community Relief Centre, which is being built in the Commonwealth country of Dominica, which was hit hard by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, and has yet to recover from deep damage to homes, roads, and forests. Puerto Rico, where Andrés launched a major food security response following Hurricane Maria, will be the second destination. The final two locations will be announced in 2021, with efforts being made by the Sussexes and Andrés “to engage additional partners to build more Community Relief Centres in regions around the world,” says a source.
Andrés said in a statement: “We are more energised than ever to continue this vital work, and we’re proud that it will be hand in hand with Archewell Foundation and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. I have come to know both of them well and believe that their values are directly aligned with what we stand for at World Central Kitchen.”
Ending hunger and achieving universal food security is one of the biggest challenges the world faces today, with over 690 million people around the world currently undernourished, according to data shared by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Due to the effects of Covid-19, the number of malnourished children and the level of food insecurity is expected to rise by more than 132 million due to pandemic-triggered recession and continued economic slowdowns.
While less covered by the mainstream media, desert locust outbreaks in several African countries and Yemen has seen over 35 million people go hungry in the past year. In June, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned that the world is facing “a food crisis worse than any soon for at least 50 years” due to a lack of social protections for poor people who are unable to have basic nutrition within reach.
It’s crises such as these that have reinforced the urgent need for coordinated hunger relief efforts in communities everywhere – both immediately and for long-term support to strengthen food supply chains.
The Sussexes’ previous experiences in community recovery make Archewell the perfect fit for World Central Kitchen, who not only provide immediate hunger relief during national disasters but also use food to empower communities and strengthen local economies. Prince Harry has been involved in a number of relief efforts, including being on the ground in Nepal alongside Team Rubicon in 2015 to help locals after a devastating earthquake. Meghan has worked with women from the Hubb Community Kitchen in the UK, which has continued to feed local communities in London since 2015 following the Grenfell Tower Fire tragedy.
“This year, I’ve seen many, many examples of neighbours supporting neighbours, of communities coming together to get through tough times,” says Andrés. “At our root, we believe in one another, in doing what's right for strangers as much as we do for our friends and family. World Central Kitchen and I, we see a world that’s full of dignity, empathy and humanity. We believe in the healing power of food, and we like to say wherever there’s a fight so hungry people may eat, we will be there.”