BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As record numbers of voters turn out to cast their ballots, many are facing long lines and taking hours to get through. In some parts of the country, those lines have taken ten hours to move through, leaving voters hungry.

A non-profit is partnering with local restaurants to keep Baltimore voters comfortable while they wait in line.

Despite the rain Thursday, voters lined up at Edmonson Westside High School to cast their ballots, and World Central Kitchen was there to keep them fed.

Voter Angela Lee was offered some chili. It was the only thing she had eaten all day.

“I’m going to go eat it in the car,” she said. “I haven’t had lunch yet.”

Lee raced to the polling station inside Baltimore’s City Community College during her lunch break and didn’t have time to figure out where she would find food.

The meal she got was free thanks to World Central Kitchen.

“I think it’s really thoughtful,” she said.

Voters were “genuinely surprised” by the offering, Kwame Rose with the nonprofit said.

VOTING RESOURCES:

The organization was started by celebrity chef José Andrés and run by chief operating officer Nate Mook.

“It’s really important to be out there,” Mook said. “People have just been so jazzed to get a meal.”

World Central Kitchen has partnered with a number of Baltimore restaurants like Breaking Bread in an initiative called “Chefs for the Polls,” feeding voters across the country, including in cities like New Orleans, Milwaukee and Miami.

The goal is to help make voting a little more bearable.

“It makes voting a little less of a hassle,” Rose said. “You can get breakfast, you can get lunch, you can get dinner while you’re waiting in these lines.”

Plus, the restaurants benefit as well.

“These small businesses can stay open, their employees can stay employed and communities can stay fed,” Rose said.

Earlier this year, Andrés visited Baltimore, feeding hungry families amid the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, Mook reiterated the group’s commitment to the city.

“We’re going to be in Baltimore as long as we can be,” he said.

World Central Kitchen has meal sites at the following four locations:

  • BCCC, Liberty Heights Campus (Gymnasium) 2901 Liberty Heights Ave.
  • Edmondson Westside High School 501 N Athol Ave.
  • Southeast Anchor Library 3601 Eastern Ave.
  • Morgan State University (Hurt Gymnasium) 1700 E Cold Spring Ln.

Annie Rose Ramos

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