WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — West Virginia Cooks representatives Chef Matt Welsch of the Vagabond Kitchen in Wheeling and Chef Marion Ohlinger from Hill & Hollow in Morgantown are heading south to help out our Appalachian neighbors in Kentucky with much-needed bottled water and non-perishables.
“We can only stay a couple of days, but when so much of our messaging talks about the legacy of care and neighborly support in Appalachia, it seems like it would ring hollow if we didn’t step up and help in some way, however small, when our own neighbors were in crisis,” says Chef Matt Welsch.
Welsch will be filling the Vagabond Kitchen’s catering van on Sunday afternoon from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. outside the restaurant with as much bottled water and non-perishable food as it can safely hold before driving down to Kentucky on Monday to help in any way possible.
“I’ve done something like this one time before when I went out to cook and serve meals to the protestors at Standing Rock. I feel like stepping up and helping those navigating crises in their communities is deeply ingrained in not only who my parents raised me to be but also in the fabric of what I wanted the Vagabond Kitchen to be all about.”
Welsch went on to stress it’s not about him. It’s about the cause.
“I’ve been lucky enough to get some attention through the years through things like The Food Network and other publications, and to be honest, I’m an introvert, so while it’s always been important to me to embrace opportunities I’ve been given, it makes me the happiest when I can leverage that attention to help in situations like this – where I can bring others in on these opportunities to make a tangible difference in the lives of others. These are real people and families down there losing absolutely everything they have. We’re not going to pretend we can fix that, but we can make sure they aren’t hungry or thirsty while they’re putting their lives back together.”
Physical donations can be dropped off on Sunday at the Vagabond Kitchen on Sunday from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.
If you’d like to donate monetarily, Welsch is accepting donations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welsch asks that those wishing to donate follow the Vagabond Kitchen social media for ongoing updates on current needs.