World Central Kitchen feeds metro Atlanta voters

‘We don’t care who you vote for. We just want people to be able to participate in our democracy,’ says nonprofit’s CEO
Metro Atlanta voters get fed by World Central Kitchen efforts.

Credit: Courtesy of World Central Kitchen

Credit: Courtesy of World Central Kitchen

Metro Atlanta voters get fed by World Central Kitchen efforts.

In the last 24 hours, some early voters standing in long lines at polling places in Marietta, Smyrna and as far away as Athens have been recipients of a welcome surprise: free food.

From tacos to sandwiches to pizza, the chef-prepared food has been orchestrated by DC-based nonprofit World Central Kitchen as part of its latest initiative, Chefs for the Polls. And they will keep the free food coming until the last vote has been cast on Nov. 3.

Founded in 2010 by chef Jose Andres after an earthquake hit Haiti, World Central Kitchen offers food-based relief to communities in crisis. For an organization that usually mobilizes to provide services due to natural disasters, feeding voters is outside the norm.

“We want to make sure that no one has to choose between eating and going to vote,” said World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook. “It’s not part of our core mission, but we see this as a moment in crisis in our country. Food is a powerful tool to bring together communities. It’s a sign of hope. That somebody cares to get a plate of hot food cooked by a chef for you is a powerful message.”

To bring food to polling places, the organization partnered with area chefs, restaurants, food trucks and caterers, providing them monetary funding while handling the logistics. “We’re not plating up a three-course meal. It’s simple, fresh, healthy, tasty food. I think Hugh (Acheson) is making tacos in Athens today,” Mook said.

Mook said that voters do not need to leave their place in line to get the food. "We have volunteers to pass it out to folks.” He also noted that the food is available to anyone. “You don’t have to show you are voting. Everyone is eligible.”

Chefs for the Polls is adhering to COVID-19 safety measures with food disbursement, according to Mook. “We have developed strict protocols – masks, gloves, nobody is sharing off the same plate, we are able to package it up and hand it out to folks."

Throughout the election period, World Central Kitchen will have a presence not just in Georgia, but coast to coast.

“We started a week ago in Chicago with early voting there,” Mook said. “Today, we’re starting in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio because today begins early voting in Texas and we’re starting to see lines there like what Georgia saw yesterday."

“We don’t care who you vote for,” Mook said. "We just want people to be able to participate in our democracy.”

For information about volunteering, donating funds or locating Chef for the Polls food donation points in real time, visit or @WCKitchen on Twitter.