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 Partnerships

, November 18th, 2013

Meals Making a Difference at Life Skills Center

Clients at the Life Skills Center, one of our newest partner nonprofits that receive meals.

Clients at the Life Skills Center, one of our newest partner nonprofits that receive meals.

This September, DC Central Kitchen started providing lunches to the Life Skills Center, a day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. According to J.C. Hodges, Program Director of the Life Skills Center, the meals are already having a big impact.

A lot of people have already noticeably lost weight and their families are even commenting on it.
- J.C. Hodges, Program Director of the Life Skills Center

Health concerns can easily turn into a secondary disability for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so encouraging fitness and good nutrition is a priority at the Life Skills Center. Hodges says that in the past, staff would emphasize the importance of making healthy choices and encourage clients to eat fruits and vegetables in nutrition lessons, but didn’t see these foods in their clients’ diets.

Before DC Central Kitchen began providing lunches, everyone would bring in their own lunch from home, or bring money to buy lunch in the neighborhood. All of the Center’s clients are eligible for Medicaid and their caregivers are often preparing meals on a very limited budget.

While some brought in as little as yogurt and a bag of chips, others regularly showed up with meat and potatoes or purchased food from the neighborhood carryout. Hodges noted that one client would regularly bring in a chicken breast with a big serving of white rice and two tortillas and then immediately fall asleep after finishing his lunch. Others would even stay home at times because their family was unable to send a meal with them.

Realizing that a reliable, nutritious lunch would be a boon to both clients and their families, Hodges reached out to Crystal Nicholas, DC Central Kitchen’s Partnership Program Manager, who was able to help.

Now that clients are receiving balanced meals complete with fruits and vegetables, the staff are noticing that they have a lot more energy and they’ve even seen a noticeable change in behavior problems.

The lunches have really have been awesome, we’re getting nutritious meals with fruits and vegetables and when there are leftovers people actually argue over who gets to eat them.
- explains Hodges.

Because of DC Central Kitchen, the Life Skills Center is now able to serve lunches that reinforce what they’re teaching clients in their nutrition education classes.

, November 17th, 2013

Hubbard Place: Growing Up Healthy With DCCK’s Meals

hubbard place for story

DCCK provides healthy snacks and dinners to children at Hubbard Place.

Hubbard Place is a special place, and just the right kind of place for DC Central Kitchen. The Hubbard Place Resident Service Program provides educational, cultural, and recreational opportunities to the members of its community, which includes an after school program for kids, through which DCCK provides snacks and dinner every weekday.

The menus DCCK provides for Hubbard Place is chock full of fresh fruits and vegetables and flavorful foods such as Mediterranean chicken. When they see fresh vegetables from DCCK on their plates, they’re already well acquainted with them.

The kids are familiar with the produce they’re served and appreciate it in part because of the community garden a couple of blocks away. The kids also appreciate the menu DCCK provides for the month and they excitedly look forward to their favorite meals.

Because this is a tight knit community, the kids know each other well. Most of them live here, or go to school together. They love coming together and eating dinners from DC Central Kitchen together.
- explains Brenda Thomas, the Youth Development Specialist of Hubbard Place’s after school program.

Amelia Foley, Healthy Returns and Nutrition Outreach Coordinator at DCCK, visits Hubbard Place regularly and teaches the kids nutritional lessons incorporating healthy snacks. Foley also brings fun snack activities like ghost shaped banana slices and pumpkin shaped mandarin oranges for Halloween.

The kids get so excited when Amelia comes. The support from the Kitchen is great.
- Brenda Thomas

In fact, the kids at Hubbard Place’s after school program love the fresh food DC Central Kitchen provides so much that they don’t even notice the glow of the snack and soda vending machines in the hallway just outside their doors.

, September 12th, 2013

Where Our Meals Go


Meals for our partner nonprofits

Every day, DC Central Kitchen prepares and distributes an average of 5,000 meals to 88 nonprofit organizations throughout DC. Feeding is not the goal of our work, but it’s an important first step to empowering men and women to change their lives.

Each of our partner agencies plays a critical role in meeting the diverse needs of our community. By providing them with quality meals at little or no costs, we save these agencies more than $3.6 million in food and labor costs each year—strengthening our social safety net and helping the nonprofit sector make the most of our donors’ dollars.

Here we take a closer look at the types of agencies we serve. By providing meals to these types of nonprofit organizations, we’re offsetting their food costs and freeing up their resources to focus on unique programming.

Emergency Shelters
Emergency shelters, such as the Catholic Charities New York Avenue Emergency Shelter and La Casa Multicultural Center, serve thousands of homeless men and women throughout the District and provide crucial refuge, especially during inclement weather.

Women’s Programs
We serve meals to programs like Rachael’s Women’s Center, which provide special support to women overcoming homelessness and substance abuse. In addition to our food, these women can access basic health services, case management, social support networks, free legal assistance, and substance abuse and recovery support.

Rehabilitation Programs
While emergency shelters provide short-term housing, rehabilitation programs such as Clean and Sober Streets and Blair House offer longer-term stability and support to men and women recovering from substance abuse or reentering society after prison.

Workforce Development Programs
Job training programs, like the SOME Center for Employment Training and the Covenant House Washington’s Work Readiness Education and Training Center, play a crucial role in empowering men and women to rebuild their lives while receiving case management and job placement assistance.

After School Programs
Through our Healthy Returns initiative, we serve healthy, scratch-cooked meals to agencies serving youth such as the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the Benning Courts Apartments Community Center. These organizations help young people prepare for brighter futures with mentoring, counseling, nutrition and health education, and job readiness training. Since partnering with DC Central Kitchen, many of these agencies have reported an increase in attendance and retention rates.

Outreach Programs
Programs like Thrive DC use food as a gateway to providing supportive case management services and outreach to homeless men and women. These ‘low-barrier’ services help severely at-risk individuals take the first crucial steps along their road to recovery.


, June 14th, 2013

How We’re Engaging Local Businesses

We've partnered with 30 corner stores to deliver fresh fruits and veggies to DC neighborhoods without fully stocked grocery stores.

We’ve partnered with 30 corner stores to deliver fresh fruits and veggies to DC neighborhoods without fully stocked grocery stores.

We couldn’t do our work without our growing list of business partnerships. Here’s a recap of their amazing contributions.

Local Restaurants
Restaurants have always been an integral part of what we do. It all started in 1989 when our founder, Robert Egger, started recovering food from local restaurants, hotels, and catering operations to be used in meals to feed hungry district residents. Since then, restaurants have given us much more than leftovers. From participating in our events to providing internships and job opportunities for our culinary students, restaurants are the bread and butter of what makes DC Central Kitchen work.

Local Farmers
When we do have to buy food, we’re committed to buying local. In 2012, we invested $156,523 into our area economy by purchasing produce and meat from area farmers. We increased the total poundage of locally sourced food in our meals by 22% from 2011. Last year, 30% of all of the ingredients used in our school meals were locally sourced.

DC Corner Stores
We’re combating poor health and creating opportunities for small businesses through Healthy Corners, our wholesale delivery service that provides fresh fruits and veggies to communities without fully stocked supermarkets. In 2012, our 30 partner corner stores sold $33,000 worth of fresh produce.

Food Distributors
In 2012, our Nutrition Lab facility in Northeast DC facilitated the recovery of 320,000 pounds of fresh produce from local food distributors. These are good fruits and veggies that are fresh and healthy, but are not perfect enough for sale. Our relationships with these distributors have led them to increase their donations over the years, allowing us to make our donations go further.

Last year, we received over $432,949 dollars in workplace giving campaign contributions from employees working at local businesses and government agencies based in the region. We’re proud of their support and their efforts to get more involved in our work by volunteering and hosting group fundraisers.

DC Central Kitchen receives significant financial and in-kind support from local corporate partners. We’re proud to have many of our corporate partners listed as top corporate philanthropists by the Washington Business Journal, including Capital One, Clark Enterprises, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Mid-Atlantic States, Geppetto Catering, and many others.

, June 13th, 2013

5 Ways We Work With Other Nonprofits To Make Change


James Weeks of our street outreach team helps refer chronically homeless clients to crucial services provided by over 30 nonprofit partners.

DC Central Kitchen doesn’t exist in a vacuum. We are aware that other nonprofits are out there doing important work to make change. This is why we’re always trying to build connections with those programs. Here are some of the partnerships we’ve built:

Meal Distribution
We’ve partnered with 88 nonprofits around DC to provide 5,000 balanced meals every day. The nonprofits receiving our meals reinvest the money we save them back into their unique programming where it can make an even greater impact.

First Helping
Through our street outreach program, we’re using over 180 balanced meals each day to engage hundreds of chronically homeless men and women with crucial services provided by over 30 nonprofit partners, who can offer the next step on the road to recovery. Last year, our outreach team referred 59 of those clients to stable housing.

Culinary Job Training
The majority of students in our Culinary Job Training Program are referred to us from other nonprofits. As students work their way through the course, we ensure they still have access to the crucial social services provided by our nonprofit partners so they can stay committed to their studies.

Healthy School Food
We’re excited to be part of the DC Farm to School Network, where we work with nonprofits like the DC Greens to educate and connect D.C. schoolchildren with the sources of their food by creating experiential learning opportunities such as chef demonstrations, farmer visits, and taste tests. This effort is crucial to empowering kids to eat healthier.

Funds for Programming
We can’t forget Martha’s Table and the United Way of the National Capital Area, who we just partnered with to raise funds to fight hunger through the United Way’s Do More 24 event. We’ve also joined Martha’s Table for the past 4 years to promote Sips & Suppers, a celebration of food and community that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for both organizations.

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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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