by David Klemt

WCK On the Ground in Türkiye and Syria

by David Klemt

Building in Barış, Türkiye, damaged in 2023 earthquake

A week after deadly, devastating earthquakes struck Türkiye and Syria, World Central Kitchen has served more than one million meals.

KRG Hospitality supports WCK and their mission, and has done so for years. In fact, donating to WCK is a core element of our KRG Cares program.

There’s a lot of bleakness and darkness dominating headlines. Negativity continues to infect social media and public discourse. All too often, people are focusing on one another’s differences, feeding the drive to divide rather than unite.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to give into cynicism and pessimism. We don’t have to take the bait and allow ourselves to wallow in outrage.

Look at what Chef José Andrés, Patricia Andrés, and the WCK team accomplish as an example. When disaster strikes, WCK is there to provide support and relief. The WCK Relief Team mobilizes, WCK organizes and finds support partners, and those in need get hot meals.

On February 6, two earthquakes Türkiye and Syria. The first earthquake registered 7.8 Mw (Moment Magnitude Scale), while the second was 7.7 Mw. According to recent reports, the death toll has surpassed 42,000. Millions of people in both countries lost their homes.

Yesterday, a 6.4 Mw quake struck the Türkiye-Syria border. Reports claim another eight people died and hundreds more were injured.

Making the monumental task of providing relief even more challenging is the conflict in Syria. Still, WCK, Gift of the Givers, and 25 restaurant partners are providing meals in Türkiye and Syria. Meals for those in Syria are prepared in Türkiye and then delivered to a hospital.

The Spirit of Hospitality

I don’t want to come off as preachy in this article. However, I think there’s been a departure from hospitality that our industry needs to address.

It behooves us to remember the role that restaurants, bars, and hotels have played traditionally in their communities. Ours are places of welcome, of warmth, of support.

In other words, our businesses are places of hospitality. That word isn’t simply an industry or trade designation.

Restaurants, bars, and hotels around the world have long been the cartilage of their communities; they brought everyone together. In many cases, hospitality was the beating heart of a community, not just the connective tissue.

Two people with opposing word views were able to set aside their differences over a drink and a bite to eat. We need to get back to that element of hospitality. Neighborhood restaurants and bars, regardless of category, are sanctuaries. Each one is an oasis, and we need to remember that. We’re about inclusion, not exclusion.

The WCK is perhaps an extreme example of what our industry can do for others. That makes the organization no less exemplary and deserving of emulation.

If you’re able to do so, please consider supporting WCK.

Image: World Central Kitchen via Twitter

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