There are hungry, starving people and I'm a cook, so I can cook for them, feed them
Early on the morning of February 24, Mykola was awakened by his mother’s call. She said that a bomb had fallen near her office and that the war had started. Waking up, Mykola did not immediately believe what he heard. He checked on the Internet – the war was all over the news, he looked out the window – and heard explosions in the distance. He and his wife packed the necessary things for the first days, gathered the children and left Kyiv.
The first 2 days in safety, Mykola could not come to his senses, stop reading the news and believe in reality. On the third day, critical thinking returned and there was a desire to do something for the victory. On Instagram, he saw posts about people having nothing to eat and realized that he is a cook and can feed them. Mykola contacted the director of the restaurant where he worked and offered to cook meals and distribute them to people using those ingredients that remained in the kitchen. The director supported his idea, but offered to find people to feed first. Thus began the volunteer work of Mykola Liulko.
Through Kyiv volunteers, he learned that children who were being treated in Kiev OKHMADET and the doctors treating them needed food. Now Mykola’s team delivers 700 portions to them daily. And they also feed 2 territorial defense units (250 servings each), 2 nursing homes and several bomb shelters. Periodically, food is prepared for people who evacuated from the occupied and destroyed suburbs of Kyiv. And, unfortunately, there are many.
Of course, the ingredients that were originally in the restaurant only lasted for 2 days. Therefore, every day Mykola spends most of his time on the phone. He collects donations, looks for sponsors and just people who care and can help with money or food. Only in the first 2 days of his work he managed to collect about 200,000 UAH and 10 tons of food. But the need does not decrease, and every day Mykola continues to look for an opportunity to feed everyone who needs it. The restaurant team is actively helping him: the director is in charge of logistics, the sous-chef is in charge of the kitchen, and the sommelier and hookah man have become drivers and deliver food.
The guys would be happy to get help – they need money for food and containers, they need fuel, they need working hands. They know that on the battlefield they would not be efficient soldiers, but in the kitchen with a knife they do a very important job. Mykola says that there are very few reasons to be happy now, but when he sees messages of gratitude and photos of the people they help, it warms his heart. And his strength comes back.
Mykola, his family and team, like all Ukrainians, are looking forward to victory. They understand that there will be many new problems and a lot of work ahead. But this is motivating. Everyone dreams of returning to a peaceful and happy life in their native Ukraine as soon as possible. And everyone is looking forward to the end of the war.
Before the War
A chef and business owner
Site of Operation