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Heather Warthen, Contributing Editor
2:30 pm PST November 16, 2018

If anyone knows what a hot meal can do for a fire evacuee, it’s chef Tim Kilcoyne.

Last December, Kilcoyne was forced to evacuate his Ventura home during the Thomas Fire. It was after that experience he started working as a team lead with World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit founded by Chef José Andrés after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The organization helps establish disaster-relief kitchens and provide meals to first responders and disaster victims.

World Central Kitchen is a partner with the American Red Cross and Kilcoyne said they are delivering meals to about 25-30 locations for those affected by the Woolsey Fire which burned through portions of Malibu.

“We are delivering to shelters in Los Angeles and Ventura counties,” he said. “We also are set up with three animal shelters to help feed their volunteers. We’re also feeding everyone that’s working.”

Even the animals in the shelters are benefiting from World Central Kitchen, as Kilcoyne said vegetable scraps from the meals were given to them.

“Especially since I went through it and was evacuated [from my home], it’s really heartwarming seeing the community come together,” he said. “It’s amazing and so important.” 

Kilcoyne said they have about 150-200 volunteers who are helping take care of lunches and dinners and as of Friday, Nov. 16, had made approximately 55,000 meals in the past week. 

“We’ve got a lot of hands helping to push everything out,” he said.

He also knows they are making an impact on both evacuees and first responders.

“These people are in shelters and just lost their homes,” Kilcoyne said. “A hot meal goes a long way with people and it can turn their day around. It’s the same thing with first responders who are working 24-hour shifts. They don’t have the chance for a hot meal and now they have one.”

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