2022 November 15 World Central Kitchen: Helping feed Ukraine

Nov 15, 2022

Hi, this is Jim Cranston from 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com, the podcast and website by, for, and about Baby Boomers. Thanks for joining me tonight as we talk about doing more than you thought possible. So let's get started. 


If you like what you hear tonight, please leave a like and hit the like button and tell your friends. We'll be doing more with the podcast and the website over the coming months. We'll talk about that later, but we're glad you're here tonight. 


As I've mentioned many times before, I'm a regular and avid reader of the Wall Street Journal. I call it the newspaper for grownups. I don't always agree with many of their viewpoints on specific topics. I feel the coverage there is generally a bit more balanced and certainly better researched than in most other modern news outlets. They have a monthly magazine now because they have really positioned themselves as the moderate to conservative New York Times, and they're doing pretty well at it, actually.


In the November issue of Wall Street Journal Magazine - it's called the Innovators Issue - on the cover is José Andrés, Chief and Founder of World Central Kitchen, who I mentioned last week. If you want to read more about them, they are at WCK.org, the World Central Kitchen.


He's The Wall Street Journal’s 2022 Humanitarian Innovator for his creation and his work with the World Central Kitchen. The story, which is really quite detailed and thorough, goes into many fascinating aspects of his first foray into an active war zone to serve people in need.


There are many things I could talk about in relation to this person and all his charitable efforts. But right now, I just wanted to focus on one of them. Mr. Andres has been in the humanitarian food preparation sector now for about a dozen years, 12 years, and he's 53. I can tell you from personal experience, my fifties actually were a good period of my life. I think every period of my life was good for different reasons, but the fifties were a lot of fun because I was still in really good physical shape and you have a lot of personal experience and all sorts of different perspective and lots of energy. So he's at that stage, and I think he's really doing good things with it and doing a lot. Just that alone makes me feel good about talking about him. 


To put some perspective as to what he's been able to accomplish since they arrived in Ukraine:  They've served over 165 million meals as of early October 2022. So he goes on to say they've always looked for the same three things when they move into an area to help bring food to people who are in a bad situation, like after a natural disaster. They look for an untapped food supply, willing local cooks, and available kitchen capacity. That's all good to say, but nearly 200 million meals - that's a pretty unbelievable accomplishment.


While it takes many people and a lot of cooperation to make that happen, at its core, there's one highly motivated, highly focused visionary, Mr. José Andrés. The story goes on to talk about when Mr. Andrés first arrived in Kyiv, he connected with Mr.Oleksii Shpionov, a DJ and caterer who was doing local meal prep for neighbors. Now this is where the magic of the vision starts to happen. Initially, Mr. Shpionov was able to produce about 600 meals a day, which is pretty impressive. But World Central Kitchen (WCK) partnered with them to start funding the food and paid his cooks.


He also taught them a lot about how to cook at production levels. Oleksii goes on to say it revolutionized their production and how many people could be fed. By just guiding others to follow their passion to help, World Central Kitchen was able to increase their output and their reach manyfold. 


Even more amazing, it was accomplished in Lviv, where he connected with Yuliya Stefanyuk, who now heads the World Central Kitchen program in Ukraine. When she first met Andrés, she was working out of a rented industrial space with a small catering kitchen. He asked her how many meals she could prepare in a day, and she said about 500. Now listen to this. He said he needed 20,000 each day. That meant he needed her to increase her production by a factor of 40 times. Wow. With his help and guidance, and by coordinating with other volunteers in the city, they not only produce the 20,000 meals, but now produce over 34,000 meals each day.


That's 68 times as many meals as they were able to initially prepare. Yes, it took a lot of training and investment and cooperation and learning. But it also took someone with a vision, and someone else with the courage to believe in that same vision and trust in herself, to go from helping 500 people each day to 34,000 people each day. That is what the passion and power of a vision aligned with your goals can do. It can truly make magic happen. There's far more, like helping one kitchen learn techniques to help get them to make 18,000 sandwiches a day, 18 times more than before.  But more importantly, Andrés and the World Central Kitchen have learned much from the experience, and that will help them in future situations as well. It was a two-way street, everybody learned.


It's important to realize this isn't all just wishing for something. There's still a lot of hard work and learning and making mistakes and improving, but it all starts with a vision, and a passion to help others see that vision and realize anything is possible when you're all working towards that same goal.


We all have almost limitless capability. Do you think the two people above really thought they could increase the number of people they were helping by 18 times and 68 times? Probably not. But when they believed and worked, they realized they could make the amazing possible. But don't think that only huge things are amazing.


Although those two names we mentioned were the names of the front of each of those transformations, there were many others behind them following their dream and doing little amazing things each in their own way. Because remember, it's usually the little challenges that keep us from making the big transformations.


If you can help someone else, or even yourself, overcome just a few small challenges, you may suddenly find that the big transformation you wanted really wasn't quite so insurmountable after. Now if that kitchen that can make 18,000 sandwiches a day had to increase it to 36,000, they'd probably say, Yeah, I think we can do that.


But when they were making a thousand sandwiches a day, even going to 2000 seemed unbelievable. That is what we're talking about when we talk about creating your own future. Once you learn to believe in your vision, and believe in yourself, and have your first successes, suddenly the unbelievable becomes not only believable, but normal, and you'll start to realize how much you can control your own happiness.


We’ve talked about this before. This isn't woo-woo magic. This is learning how to focus your thoughts and train your mind to believe in success, even when it seems unbelievable at first. Each of us is born without limits. Society trains us to be un amazing and lose faith in ourselves. Ask almost any really small child what they want to be when they grow up. They don't start with It's unlikely I'll get into an Ivy League school, so that will harm my chances of… It's nothing like that. Nope. They start right off with the biggest things they know. I want to be president, I want to be an astronaut. I want to be a doctor. Because they only know hope and have a limitless vision of their own future.


So we gain that innocent enthusiasm, that desire, that passion for designing what you want to do in your life, and then working to make it a reality. We will finally be releasing our course, we’re planning to actually begin the course in January of 2023. How amazing, it's almost 2023 already. More on that to come, but that course will be exactly what we're talking about and have talked about four months now. It'll be the introduction of how to find your passion in life and be pleased with all the options you have each and every day. 


So that's it for the evening. Please remember the war in Ukraine is continuing across the whole country. Yes, they're still regaining territory. Winter's coming. They need food. They need heat. There are a lot of things. If you're able and interested, look at the links at UKR7.com. We'll be adding a link to the World Central Kitchen to that page.


WCK.org. Very simple. Go there, make a donation. They work in a lot of places, it’s just a really good organization.


Remember, one of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for others. If you can, please check them out. As always, be true to yourself. Live your life aligned with your true goals and feelings. 


Thank you for stopping by. If you found something interesting and useful, please pass it along. Please hit that like button. If not, please drop me a comment as to what you'd like to hear. Have a great week, and remember to live the life that you dreamed of because that's the path to true  contentment. Love and encouragement to everyone. See you next week on 7EveryMinute and 7EveryMinute.com. Thank you.

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