What is the World Central Kitchen and what were they doing in Gaza?

The World Central Kitchen was founded in 2010.

Seven aid workers for the World Central Kitchen, a food charity, were killed Monday by an apparent Israeli military strike gone wrong.

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The workers were in a vehicle headed to the Gaza Strip when they were killed, according to The Associated Press.

What is the World Central Kitchen and why were they there? Here’s what we know about the organization:

What is World Central Kitchen?

According to its website, the World Central Kitchen “delivers freshly prepared meals to people in need following natural disasters, like hurricanes or earthquakes, or to those enduring conflict.”

The group has also provided meals to migrants arriving at the southern U.S. border, according to AP, and the victims of wildfires in Hawaii and Texas.

The aid group was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés and currently offers thousands of meals daily in Ukraine, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Gaza and Haiti.

Andrés has a pair of Michelin-star restaurants, has published cookbooks and has appeared on numerous television shows and podcasts.

The organization built resilience programs in the years following its founding, according to its website, investing in longer-term solutions around food in the Caribbean and Central America. It expanded after those programs to help provide meals in areas where people in conflict needed help.

It now provides food to those in need in countries around the world.

What happened in Gaza?

According to a press release from WCK, “Despite coordinating movements with the IDF, the convoy was hit as it was leaving the Deir al-Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tons of humanitarian food aid brought to Gaza on the maritime route.”

The seven killed included people from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Palestine and a person with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada. They were traveling in a deconflicted zone in two armored cars branded with the WCK logo and a soft-skin vehicle, the organization said.

Why were they there?

WCK placed teams in several areas of Israel and Gaza following the Hamas attacks that took place on Oct. 7. It has provided more than 43 million meals in Gaza since the start of the Israeli-Hamas war.

It had been serving the region by delivering meals that were trucked in and some that had been air-dropped. It was also working on establishing food delivery via a sea route.

In an interview with The Associated Press last month, Andrés said he believed that the sea deliveries helped to prompt the U.S. to declare that it would build a floating pier for aid delivered to Gaza by sea.

“I think this has been our achievement,” Andrés said.

The second of the two sea deliveries the group orchestrated carried enough food to prepare more than 1 million meals, according to the organization.

WCK will be pausing its work in Gaza until further notice, the organization said Tuesday.

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