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At DC Central Kitchen, we hate waste in any form, be it leftover food or human potential. And drug abuse wastes that human potential by sparking addiction, damaging families, and driving incarceration. Here in Washington, DC, 12% of our city struggles with alcohol or drug abuse. More than one-third of the District’s homeless population is afflicted by the often interrelated factors of serious mental illness and chronic substance abuse.
To help people become self-sufficient members of our community, they must break the destructive cycle of addiction. Our First Helping program offers warm breakfasts to homeless individuals while our outreach specialists connect these clients to drug treatment and detoxification programs.
Once clean, our Culinary Job Training Program offers the next step toward recovery by promoting employment and financial independence. In 2011, 69% of our graduates had histories of addiction. Our Culinary Job Training program’s self-empowerment curriculum helps these individuals develop additional strategies for maintaining their victories over substance addiction and abuse.
With so many of this city’s ex-offenders struggling to find work after drug charges – often relatively minor in nature – we know that placing these men and women in good jobs is essential to keeping them out of prison and away from drugs. Our strained public budgets cannot afford the permanent unemployment or persistent incarceration of potentially productive citizens.