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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Celebration in Order for Central Union Mission’s First Class of CJT Graduates

, August 20th, 2014

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Last Friday marked a DC Central Kitchen milestone: our first Culinary Job Training class from Central Union Mission graduated! Twelve weeks of hard work paid off for the 10 graduates who joined friends, family and DCCK supporters at Central Union Mission to celebrate their achievements and plans for the future.

Class 1 representative Lee Hylton addressed the audience, his fellow graduates, and the men and women of DCCK’s Class 97, who just completed their sixth week of training, and said: “Every day DC Central Kitchen exemplifies that there are still people who want to help others.” He added, “This program worked for me and my classmates, and it will work for you too.”

Lee, who spent 24 months in prison prior to starting the Culinary Job Training Program, secured a job prior to Friday’s graduation and started working this week at Acacia Bistro in the Van Ness neighborhood of Northwest DC. Other employers of the graduating class include Sodexo at Marymount University and Nando’s Peri Peri; and graduates are earning an average hourly wage of $11.62.

A steady job can mean a world of change for men and women overcoming obstacles like incarceration, homelessness and addiction. Our Culinary Job Training program works with students and alumni to help them secure a good job to support themselves and their families.

DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program would not be possible without the investments of our community partners, including the Capital One Foundation, CityCenterDC, The City Fund, and the Community Foundation of the National Capital Region, among others. The Culinary Job Training program always has more applicants than it can accommodate, and partnerships like these create opportunities for us to provide more students with the critical tools they need to break the cycle of dependency and find jobs.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at this milestone event. We look forward to seeing you at 2pm on October 10th at the U.S. Navy Memorial and Heritage Center where we’ll celebrate DCCK’s 97th class of CJT graduates!

Check out some other great photos from Friday’s event!

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Book Launch Party Honoring DC Central Kitchen’s 25th Anniversary

, August 14th, 2014

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DC Central Kitchen invites you to join us on September 18th for a launch party celebrating the release of the new book written in honor of our 25th anniversary year, “The Food Fighters: DC Central Kitchen’s First 25 Years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty” by our own Chief Development Officer, Alexander Justice Moore.

Thursday, September 18, 2014
Liaison Capitol Hill’s Rooftop Pool & Bar
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Come celebrate with us and enjoy:

Tickets are $75 each, and include food, drinks, and a signed copy of “The Food Fighters.”
$40 of your purchase is a tax deductible contribution to DC Central Kitchen

Buy Tickets Now

Can’t make the event but want to buy the book? You can find it on Amazon. (Don’t forget to use AmazonSmile to support DC Central Kitchen!)


Thanks to our good friends for their support of this celebration:



DCCK Training Director Receives White House Honor

, June 30th, 2014


One woman working in the basement of one of this country’s largest homeless shelters has spent 17 years helping DC’s ex-offenders get back on their feet, re-enter the workforce, and steer clear of crime (and punishment). Marianne Ali, the leader of DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program (CJT), doesn’t bring her trademark fire and vision to work each day because she’s looking for recognition or awards.

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve them. And today, Chef Ali was named a White House Champion of Change. One of more than 900 nominees across the country, Ali’s record of “extraordinary work to facilitate employment opportunities for individuals formerly involved in the justice system” stood out through a highly competitive vetting process. Months after being nominated by her close partners at DC’s lead prisoner reentry agency, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA), Ali joins 15 honorees in a group that includes acclaimed Homeboy Industries founder Father Greg Boyle.

CSOSA’s nomination credited Ali with helping to “develop one of the best culinary training programs in the country” and praised her “continuous and assertive” approach to guiding returning citizens through a complex web of social, legal, and financial barriers to achieve self-sufficiency. To date, DCCK’s training efforts, led by Chef Ali, have produced more than 1,300 graduates. Since the recession of 2008, CJT has produced 498 graduates with an 89% job placement rate—and 75% of Ali’s students are ex-offenders, providing a powerful return on investment to our donors and wider community each year.

To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit

2013 Annual Report Now Online

, May 19th, 2014

Check out our latest Annual Report, “Unfinished Business”: DC Central Kitchen’s impact on hunger and joblessness in DC. Check it out here.

25 Years Of Changing Lives

, January 21st, 2014
The First Family Visits DC Central Kitchen

We were honored to host President Obama and the First Family at DC Central Kitchen on January 20th, 2014 for a day of service to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo credit: The White House.

25 years ago yesterday, a young nightclub manager named Robert Egger parked his used delivery van at the back door of an inaugural ball and recovered the first pan of food ever donated to DC Central Kitchen. He wasn’t an expert in food systems or social work, but he was dissatisfied with the way his hometown treated leftover food and jobless adults—in short, he was sick of seeing both of them thrown away.

Robert’s ideas were simple but revolutionary. By bringing donated food to one central kitchen and creating an economy of scale, Robert was able to fight waste and prepare higher quality meals for the District’s shelters and nonprofits. And more importantly, he could recruit unemployed or homeless adults to come to that kitchen, enroll in a culinary training program, and help make those very meals. He created a way to shorten this city’s line of hungry people by the very way he fed it.

For a quarter-century, we’ve worked tirelessly to fulfill Robert’s original vision and build on it in pioneering new ways. Today, we earn over 60% of our revenue through job-creating social enterprises. We are as much a business as we are a nonprofit—it’s just that our best-selling product is empowerment. From fighting food waste to investing in local farmers to helping our culinary graduates average a 90% job placement rate, DC Central Kitchen is on the cutting edge of our community’s most essential needs.

We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished since our first day of operations, but disappointed that our services are still needed. Robert Egger designed DC Central Kitchen so that our very model would ultimately put ourselves out of business. Thank you for believing in that model and investing in a brighter, more inclusive future.

A Year Of Real Results

, December 29th, 2013
This year, we expanded our Culinary Job Training Program to two new sites: Arlington County (Pictured) and N Street Village.

This year, we expanded our Culinary Job Training Program to two new sites: Arlington County (Pictured) and N Street Village.

As the New Year approaches, we reflect on our achievements of 2013. We’re proud of all the lives we’ve changed through our work in this year of real results.

In 2013, DC Central Kitchen:

We’re proud of our achievements – and we couldn’t do this without your support!

Consider making a year-end contribution today. All gifts are tax deductible and gifts made by December 31st will be matched by Venable LLP up to $25,000.

Thanks for supporting us this year and Happy New Year from all of us at DC Central Kitchen!