District-wide, one in eight households is battling the very real threat of hunger. This figure spikes to 40% among children in DC’s African American households. Across the country, 13% of senior citizens and 20% of children lack secure access to decent food. So if people are going hungry, that means we need more food banks and bigger soup kitchens, right?
Wrong. At DC Central Kitchen, we know food alone will never solve the problem of hunger. At best, a hot meal is a temporary fix for a complex and enduring problem rooted in unemployment and structural inequality. At its worst, the tired model of handing out food to hungry people fosters destructive dependency.
That’s why we use food as a tool, helping partner nonprofits efficiently serve food in conjunction with their social services, training unemployed men and women for culinary careers, and strengthening DC schoolchildren to take hold of their futures. And that’s why, despite dishing out 25 million meals since our founding, and more than 5,000 each day since 2011, we are no soup kitchen. We’re an engine of community empowerment that helps our neighbors replace hunger with good jobs and self-sufficiency.
“The Capital’s Kitchen”, The New York Times, January 15.