More than two decades ago, DC Central Kitchen pioneered the idea that leftover food could be donated to a ‘central kitchen’ where it would be prepared and distributed to other nonprofits that needed help feeding their clients. As our founder, Robert Egger, quickly found, people were skeptical.
What if the food went bad and people sued its well-meaning donors? We responded by working with other nonprofits and US lawmakers to pass the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which protects food donors from liability. This mission of preventing waste in all its forms still stands at the core of what we do. And despite our years of efforts, 33.7 million tons of food is wasted every year in America.
We waste more food than we do plastic, paper, or metal. To make things worse, people aren’t going hungry because they can’t find plastic bags or sheets of metal to fill their stomachs. At first, most of our food donations came from our incredible restaurant and hotel partners. As we grew, we began taking bigger and bigger donations from large foodservice companies. In 2008, we re-focused on the nutritional quality of meals and worked with local farmers to recover and glean donated produce items.