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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DC Central Kitchen

News for Achievements

, January 21st, 2014

25 Years Of Changing Lives

First Family Visits DCCK

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.

, December 29th, 2013

A Year Of Real Results

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!

, July 10th, 2013

2012 Annual Report Now Online

Check out our latest annual report, now online here.


, June 25th, 2013

Richard McCray’s Path to Success

richardmccrayRichard McCray is advancing quickly in his new job managing The Burger Joint in Clarendon, Virginia. He owes all of his success to graduating from DC Central Kitchen’s first Arlington Culinary Job Training class four years ago.

McCray first heard about DC Central Kitchen upon being released from his seven year prison sentence in 2009. With nowhere else to go, he lived at a shelter, where extending one’s stay was contingent on finding employment. Desperate for any sort of employment, he decided to give the DCCK program a shot. While not particularly keen on cooking, something told McCray that he should take this opportunity. He enrolled in our program.

He stuck out the long hours of the program and graduated in November 2009. He says he benefited most from the life skills component of the course. For example, he learned how to deal with negativity from coworkers in a productive manner. “Kitchens have a lot of emotions and it can be frustrating. Growing up, my way of dealing with someone who was wrong was to punch him and make him see the right way. DCCK showed me there was another way,” said McCray.

So how does McCray deal with the stressful demands of the kitchen? “I try to have a laugh every day,” McCray replies. Richard McCray is enjoying his path to success, and we can’t wait to watch him grow.

, June 10th, 2013

Class 91′s Darrell Wainwright: A Life Back On Track

Darrell Wainwright is a US Air Force veteran who served his country honorably. After getting out of the Air Force, he made some bad decisions. He spent most of his adult life addicted, and he’s been to prison so many times he doesn’t remember exactly how many. But that’s all in the past.

Earlier this year, Darrell was living in the New York Avenue homeless shelter looking for a way to get his life back on track permanently when he saw a flyer for DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program. He applied, was accepted to Class 91, and, with DC Central Kitchen’s help, he moved into veterans’ housing.

14 weeks later on April 5, Darrell graduated from the program. On April 29, DC Central Kitchen hired him as a production cook. A few weeks ago, Darrell started his associate’s degree in hospitality management at the University of the District of Columbia.

Darrell isn’t an anomaly. DC Central Kitchen is bursting at the seams with stories of graduates like Darrell who have come to the Kitchen to get the tools they need to find their motivation, change their attitude, and rebuild the skills they need to get and keep a job.

Darrell says, “DC Central Kitchen isn’t just about cooking. It’s about changing your way of thinking.”

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DC Central Kitchen

425 2nd St NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Near Union Station)
United Way# 8233, CFC# 67538
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