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Ventura restaurant steps up to help prepare food for fire evacuees, first responders

The World Central Kitchen continues to feed evacuees and first responders affected by the Woolsey Fire, but a local restaurant has stepped up to prepare the food that is being passed out.

Lunchtime is always busy at The Cave in Ventura, but on Tuesday, the kitchen was extra packed.

Employees and volunteers all busy preparing food for the evacuees and first responders.

“Today we have the World Central Kitchen operations out of The Cave,” said Nicole Valdivia, the owner of The Cave. “On Sunday they decided that they needed to downsize the need for the food and stuff that was going out and didn’t need to keep the operations out of Casa Pacifica, so we volunteered to have the smaller operations take place out of our restaurant.”

Nicole Valdivia owns The Cave and says her restaurant has worked with World Central Kitchen before. Nearly a year ago she helped feed those affected by the Thomas Fire.

The nonprofit group provides meals in the wake of natural disasters around the world. It was founded by celebrity chef Jose Andres back in 2010 following the Haiti Earthquake.

“The biggest chunk of the meals today went out to Seminole Springs mobile home park that unfortunately burned down in the fire…there are over 300 volunteers over there going through the ashes with the homeowners trying to get that done before the rains come tomorrow,” said Valdivia. “And then the rest of the meals went out to the Ojai animal shelter, Camarillo animal shelter, and the Ventura fairgrounds.”

Nicole counts almost 500 meals prepared and sent out for lunch, and another 160 meals will go out for dinner. In all, the organization has served over 130-thousand meals to those affected by the Camp and Woolsey fires.

“We will do it as long as the need is here,” said Valdivia. “From what we know right now it’s kind of day by day because the numbers are changing so we will be here again tomorrow. As of right now, we will not be here for Thanksgiving, but that can change as well.”

Many volunteers have stepped up, not only to prepare food but also to deliver the meals where ever they are needed.

“There are many many people from the community involved,” said Valdivia. “It is not about us or any one person. It truly is a whole group of people that have stepped up to make this possible.”

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