The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have had a busy month, between announcing their pregnancy and their upcoming Oprah interview. But among the many headlines swirling, one philanthropic effort has flown largely under the radar.
In partnership with José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s nonprofit Archewell Foundation just completed a community relief center on the island of Dominica—the first in a series in vulnerable areas.
“This partnership brings together World Central Kitchen’s experience in community recovery and empowerment through food and The Duke and Duchess’s passion for supporting compassionate and strong communities,” the Archewell Foundation said via email. The center, whose completion was announced February 24 and was financed by the Archewell Foundation, is intended to function as a community center that can be quickly activated for disaster relief when needed.
As for how the Caribbean island was chosen as the home of this first center, World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook says the reasoning was twofold. “The centers are located in regions around the world that are disproportionately impacted by hunger and food system challenges,” says Mook. “In Dominica, which had been hard hit by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the center is located in [local nonprofit] RezDM’s new Soufriere Primary School.” But the construction also aligned with Dominica’s larger climate resilience plan to build safe shelters against future hurricanes.
Now that construction has been completed, the World Central Kitchen team will begin training team members, with a goal of being fully operational for general community support later this year. Though the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently unable to visit because of COVID restrictions, the Archewell team says that they “hope to be able to visit one of the Community Relief Centers once they’re built and in service.”
This center is the first of four to be built by World Central Kitchen in partnership with the Archewell Foundation. The next center will be in Puerto Rico, with the remaining two yet to be announced.
This partnership is one of several the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have embarked upon via the Archewell Foundation since its inception in October 2020. Other initiatives they support include The Loveland Foundation, an organization focused on providing mental health resources to Black women and girls, and research efforts at Stanford and University of California Los Angeles.
World Central Kitchen has been dedicated to disaster relief efforts since springing into action post-Hurricane Maria, when chef José Andrés and a team served meals to victims in Puerto Rico. Since then, the team has assembled around the world to meet various needs: popping up in Tijuana to feed the migrant caravan, jetting to Indonesia following a series of devastating earthquakes, and even serving meals to healthcare workers in Washington, D.C., at the start of the pandemic. These new centers will likely function as important permanent bases in future times of need.
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