Celebrity chef José Andrés has mobilized his charity World Central Kitchen to set up camp for Kentuckians voting in today’s closely-watched primary election.
“Our team is here today in Louisville to ensure that people coming to vote have food and water both while they wait and to take home with them after voting, if needed,” World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook said in an email statement to CNN. “We want to do our part to make sure everyone is able to exercise their right to vote without undue discomfort or stress.”
This is not the first time Andres’ organization has stepped up in chaotic situations. World Central Kitchen has served meals to hurricane survivors, furloughed government workers and even to those trapped aboard cruise ships at the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. However, this does mark the first time that the organization has stepped in during an election, according to Mook.
Kentucky previously delayed its primary due to coronavirus concerns and allowed all voters to request absentee ballots ahead of Tuesday’s vote. For those voting in person, though, there are fewer polling locations and poll workers than usual.
Normally, Kentucky has around 3,700 polling locations, according to its Secretary of State. Today, though, Kentuckians have just 170 locations to cast their ballots, with the state’s two most populous counties, Fayette and Jefferson, having just one in-person polling location each.
The election features a high-profile competition between Democratic establishment favorite Amy McGrath and Charles Booker, a Black state representative whose candidacy has been propelled by the activism sweeping the country.
Interest in the primary also soared following the shooting of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot and killed when police broke down the door to her apartment earlier this year. Whoever wins this primary will take on Republican Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November.
World Central Kitchen will remain in Kentucky to feed hungry voters as the day and the lines drag on. “World Central Kitchen was created to use the power of food to heal and strengthen communities,” Mook said to CNN.
CNN’s Dan Merica, Eric Bradner and Jeff Zeleny contributed to this report.