Hell’s Kitchen Kharkiv – Real-Life Drama Produces Real-World Aid
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June 10, 2023

Hell’s Kitchen Kharkiv – Real-Life Drama Produces Real-World Aid

Have you heard about Hell’s Kitchen? It’s a tale filled with drama and excitement, with busy workers buzzing through the kitchen, all working towards a higher goal. No, I’m not talking about that reality TV show with the loud-mouthed Gordon Ramsay yelling at chefs competing for some big prize. I’m talking about Hell’s Kitchen in Kharkiv, where they do amazing work – not for prize money, but for the noble humanitarian goals of feeding and helping the residents of war-torn Kharkiv.

Hell’s Kitchen
(no, not this Hell’s Kitchen)
Hell’s Kitchen Kharkiv
This one, Hell’s Kitchen in Kharkiv,

Origins of the Group

Known in Ukrainian as “Pekelna Kuhyna”, Hell’s Kitchen was co-founded by Yehor Horoshko in a hostel basement in space provided by the owner, Ivan Berezhny. From these humble beginnings, a group of strangers gathered together to help the beleaguered residents of Kharkiv after the Russian invasion. Initially, volunteers bought supplies with their own funds, and then friends and colleagues joined in. Now they receive generous support from Nova Ukraine, World Central Kitchen and others.

What They Do

As the name suggests, Hell’s Kitchen does a lot of cooking – over 1000 meals and several thousand loaves of bread every day. Meals include soups and side dishes, meats and salads, and even pies and cookies. Volunteers are essential to the entire process. Ingredients don’t just magically appear, and so in addition to cooking, volunteers help in procurement and delivery of ingredients to the kitchen. This is a never-ending task, and the halls and stairways are overflowing with bags and boxes of food. After preparation and cooking, food needs to be packaged and refrigerated before drivers can deliver to both civilians and troops. Volunteers make all of this happen, and because there are so many essential tasks to undertake, volunteers can always find some task where they can contribute – not an expert peeling vegetable? No problem, we need help loading and unloading supplies. Bags too heavy to lift? We need you to help stir the soup and box those cookies! Everyone who volunteers is an essential part of a group effort; without the generous support of volunteers the kitchen could not function.

Hell’s Kitchen in Kharkiv

Cooking isn’t the only essential service that Hell’s Kitchen performs. The kitchen also serves as a supply depot and distribution center for medicines, diapers and other supplies needed both by civilians and troops. These services are essential because the war has devastated the local economy, and many residents are unemployed and unable to buy supplies, including vital medications. Hell’s Kitchen provides life-saving essential services by helping residents, especially the elderly, obtain the basics needed for survival.

Hell’s Kitchen Kharkiv

Why Volunteer with Hell’s Kitchen?

Don’t be misled by the name - volunteering with Hell’s Kitchen could possibly be one of the most challenging yet rewarding opportunities in Ukraine now. They provide invaluable services to the war-torn areas around Kharkiv and provide a lifeline to many victims of Russian aggression. It’s a hectic, busy and bustling place filled with energy, as volunteers work together to fulfill shared goals. As volunteer baker Iryna Koshelnyuk says, "We try to invest only positive energy. That's why at work we sing, listen to music, talk about plans for the future, about something positive and good, in order to convey this energy.” With the war grinding on, Hell’s Kitchen needs a continuous supply of volunteer energy - are you ready to add yours to keep the flames of hope burning?

Hell’s Kitchen volunteers in Kharkiv

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