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


Healthy School Food

School Food
“Kids won’t eat healthy food” is an urban myth that prevents children across the country from accessing healthier options.

But as our CEO Mike Curtin told Gourmet Magazine in 2012, “If we never offer them healthy food, that statement would be true 100 percent of the time. But I’m here to tell you that if you give kids healthy food, especially the elementary and middle school students we cook for, they will eat it…and look for more.”

At DC Central Kitchen, we are proving that healthy, scratch-cooked meals can be enjoyable for children, affordable for school districts, and valuable for teachers who need children to be nourished and focused.

Since August of 2010, we have prepared 5,000 healthy, scratch-cooked meals each day for low-income children at 10 public and private schools in Washington, DC. Our schools are located primarily in Wards 7 and 8, home to DC’s highest rates of poverty, unemployment, and obesity.

We also work closely with dozens of small, local farmers to ensure that more than 30% of all the food items we purchase are grown nearby, reducing our environmental impact and reinvesting in our area economy.

And like all DC Central Kitchen programs, our school food initiative offers meaningful employment for graduates of our Culinary Job Training Program. Our school contracts now employ 35 men and women with histories of hardship at living wages. They have become relatable mentors to children facing serious barriers to educational and economic success, leading after school cooking programs and inspiring them to make healthy choices.

Our work to provide high-quality meals packed with local produce has earned wide acclaim. The Washington Post lauded our cost-effective approach, which emphasizes purchasing ingredients from area farmers, and DC Councilmember Mary Cheh said “DC Central Kitchen is the best partner to have” in this community’s efforts to use healthy food as a tool to empower our most vulnerable neighbors.

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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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