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

First Helping

First Helping
First Helping is our street-level outreach program that uses food as a tool to empower homeless and low-income individuals with the first steps in overcoming hunger, addiction, and unemployment. By providing initial tools, guidance, and advocacy, our goal is to help men and women out of the receiving line and in control of their own lives.

Every morning, our mobile outreach team serves up over 180 hot meals to clients in three different locations in Southeast D.C. While volunteers pass out hot coffee and hearty sandwiches, our trained outreach workers engage with nearly 200 clients per day, providing referrals to addiction recovery programs, affordable and supportive housing, mental health support, employment, and access to health care.

What begins as a few simple conversations over breakfast can lead to people accessing ongoing support, and ultimately a spot in our own Culinary Job Training program. First Helping partners with DC Food Finder, which provides an interactive map to help people find free and low-cost food resources in the District.

First Helping provides the initial guidance necessary to get men and women out of the receiving line and in control of their own lives.

Regular volunteer opportunities with First Helping are available weekday mornings (volunteers must be at least 18). For media inquiries, please contact Paul Day at

United Way Charity Navigator

DC Central Kitchen

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