Smokehouse Distribution Center


When the first waves of Ukrainians arrived in Moldova February 24th, 2022, the challenge of finding food and housing began. Smokehouse, a restaurant in Chișinău which is owned by an American expat, began operating as a temporary distribution center in February while international humanitarian aid efforts marshalled their resources. During this time, the Friends of Moldova supported approximately 1/3 of this operation. Early efforts through Smokehouse offered 38,198 meals to Ukrainians and responded to 175 community shelter requests. The volunteers at Smokehouse consisted of 24 staff employed by the Peace Corps’ in Moldova, and 94 volunteers. Smokehouse officially handed its distribution operations over to partner organizations OGI and World Central Kitchen. and returned to serving customers during its normal operating hours on April 8, 2022. (While the restaurant wanted to provide longer-term support for refugees, it was unsustainable for them as a business. Temporary volunteers working with Smokehouse also needed to return to work to support their families.)