Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity

DC Central Kitchen is America's leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.
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Monthly Archives: December 2012


2012 Achievements

, December 28th, 2012

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2012 has been an incredible year for DC Central Kitchen.

Take a look at some the things we’ve accomplished this year:

We’ve also built many exciting new partnerships. If you donate between December 24th and December 31st, the AARP Foundation will match your donation up to $50,000. Donate now to double your impact!

Thank you for being a big part of our success this year.



Healthy School Food: A Teacher’s Testimonial

, December 24th, 2012
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Here is a comment from Denise Cherry, a teacher at one of the 10 DC schools we’ve partnered with to serve healthy meals to children:

“If these kids continue to get this type of food as their first experience in school, I’m convinced it will make an impact in their lives. It’s exciting that I’ve personally found encouragement to eat healthier because of DC Central Kitchen. As a conscientious teacher who cares about her children, it’s great to know that I’m part of the solution to make healthier lifestyles.” — Denise Cherry, DC School Teacher

We’re encouraged when we hear testimonials like this from teachers. Because we serve healthy, scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and suppers, the kids at these schools are getting three square meals each day packed with fresh local produce. We’ve also partnered with DC corner stores to make healthy fresh snacks more accessible away from the classroom.

You can be part of our solution to combat hunger and promote health.
Donate today to create brighter, healthier futures for DC families.

Happy Holidays from all of us at DC Central Kitchen!



4 Ways Healthy Futures is Working for DC Neighborhoods

, December 20th, 2012

Changing Eating Habits
Our innovative and thoughtful way of preparing healthy meals at DC Public Schools has led to solid returns. The kids are eating healthier every day and bringing those healthy habits home.

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Building Partnerships with Small Businesses
Through Healthy Corners, we’ve partnered with 30 corner stores in Wards 5, 7, and 8 to provide fresh produce and healthy snacks at affordable prices. Not only are we investing in these stores and providing a new business opportunity, but we’re engaging the store owners to become crucial champions of change in their communities.

We’re also investing in local farms and buying much of our produce locally. Our Farm-to-School initiative engages farmers to become part of the solution by providing much of the healthy produce we serve.

Combating Childhood Hunger by Providing Three Square Meals
Together, our Healthy School Food initiative and Healthy Returns effort, which delivers meals and snacks to after school programs and summer camps, give kids healthy, scratch-cooked meals three times per day. And these meals are packed with fresh local produce, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Educating the Community
With our Truck Farm, school cooking demos, and community outreach efforts, we’re educating the entire community about nutrition. Last year, we educated over 9,800 individuals with hands-on strategies for healthy eating and an additional 2,300 children through the Truck Farm, an innovative traveling edible exhibit that teaches kids where food comes from.

You can be part of this success. Make a contribution this holiday season to promote health and combat hunger in DC neighborhoods.



How Healthy Corners Thrives on Business Partnerships

, December 19th, 2012

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Partnerships have become good business for DC Central Kitchen. Healthy Corners proves that good business partners can become an integral part of driving community change.

In our partnership with 30 DC corner stores, we’ve educated store owners about how important they are in promoting health through the food in their stores. We’ve also worked with the stores to help them market and sell these nutritious items. When customers started buying, retails started buying in. Last year, our 30 corner stores sold over $10,000 in produce.

Community involvement + smart business strategy has equaled new revenue for our Healthy Corners partner stores. Without considering the needs of the businesses involved in the program, we wouldn’t be successful. We talk to our participating stores each week, collecting sales information and first-hand feedback to shape future deliveries and product lines.

DC Central Kitchen is also benefiting from business partnerships by ensuring that Healthy Corners is set up for future sustainability. After the first few months of this program, all of these stores began buying the produce from us at cost. They continue to get technical assistance from our in-house experts to ensure that produce sales keep growing.

Much of the success behind Healthy Corners is also educating the community about nutrition – whether through in-school cooking demos or at community events. We could not do much of that work without our corporate, foundation, and government partners, Chobani’s Shepherd’s Gift Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, the Aetna Foundation, the 15 Foundation, NBC Universal, Ober-Kaler, and the DC Department of Health.

Join all of our business partners and be part of this work to ensure a brighter and healthier future for DC families. Visit our Donate Page and make an investment today.



How We Cultivate Adventurous Eaters

, December 18th, 2012

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Think back to when you were in school. Did you ever get to try grilled BBQ beef bulgogi? How about curried chick peas, cauliflower gratin, red cabbage coleslaw, roasted beets, whole wheat bread stuffing, or Asia- style Brussels slaw? Before DC Central Kitchen produced meals for DC Public Schools, many of the kids had never tried whole grain pasta or raw kale.

We’ve learned that cultivating adventurous eaters, ones who are willing to give anything an honest try, takes time, repeated exposure, and a little one-on-one attention. And when healthy food is prepared the right way, most kids will give it a try! Kids get really excited about trying a specially prepared sample in an individual cup served to them by one of our chefs!

When the kids learn about a new food they like, they often talk about it at home. They ask their parents to provide the same food they’re getting at school. But if they live far from an affordable grocery store, it’s often hard to make those healthy meals at home. This is why we’ve partnered with 30 DC corner stores to bring many of the fresh ingredients and healthy snacks to their neighborhoods.

We’ve learned through our work at DC Public Schools that most kids want to eat healthy, but they aren’t being exposed to a variety of healthy food prepared in kid-friendly ways. This means going beyond simply providing vegetables as a side, to planning a variety of thoughtfully prepared dishes to give kids a wider palate. By cultivating adventurous eaters, we’re actually setting kids up to eat healthier for the rest of their lives.

You can join us to create brighter futures for DC families. Visit our Donate page and invest in our effort to push nutritional barriers and promote health in DC neighborhoods.



Pioneering a ‘Wraparound’ Approach to Changing Lives

, December 17th, 2012

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At DC Central Kitchen, we change lives through the creative use of food. Across America, there are lots of organizations bringing healthy food to low-income children and families. It’s important work, and we’re glad to see conversations about hunger, obesity, and diet-related disease taking place at dinner tables and in the halls of Congress.

But helping kids and families lead healthier lives takes more than handing out strange new foods and saying “Eat this, it’s good for you.” At DCCK, we have pioneered a path-breaking ‘wraparound’ approach to changing behaviors and empowering people to live better.

Others have said that kids don’t want to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – and when these foods are served only occasionally, and in isolation from nutrition education and real engagement, they’re right! But our programs provide healthy food options in school, after school, during school vacations, and even to corner stores near DC schools.

By offering these items at so many places where children spend their time, we reinforce good decision making and give them the tools to grow up strong.

Our model starts in school, where we serve nearly 5,000 healthy, locally-sourced, scratch-cooked meals to children enrolled at 10 DC schools. We focus on serving low-income neighborhoods, and many of the 2,000 schoolchildren we serve each day rely on us for three meals each day. When school is out of session, these kids face the threat of hunger. That’s why we distribute more than 100,000 nutritious meals and snacks to 35 youth programs and summer camps each year, helping nourish young people during school vacations.

And to help kids make smarter dietary choices on their own, we stock 30 corner stores in low-income neighborhoods with fresh produce and wholesome snacks through our Healthy Corners program. While other communities across America are searching for a solution to the lack of quality options on corner store shelves, DC Central Kitchen has become the only nonprofit to take on the central issue of distribution, making us a national leader in the struggle against ‘food deserts.’

We’re empowering our community to live healthier by bringing quality food to its schools, summer camps, and corner stores. Join our effort to build a healthier future today!