DC Central Kitchen, Inc.

Rating: 4.76 stars   59 reviews

Issues:

Location: 425 Second St. Nw Washington DC 20001 USA

Mission: DC Central Kitchen turns leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk individuals while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to adults overcoming homelessness, addiction, and incarceration. We use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. 
Results: Since opening our doors twenty-one years ago, we have: • Served over 21 million meals—now in the amount of 4,500 each day—to our region’s hungry and homeless men, women, and children through our Food Recycling and Meal Distribution program. • Graduated nearly 800 once-homeless and hungry men and women from our Culinary Job Training program. Since the economic crisis of 2008, our graduates have attained a 94% job placement rate and seen their starting average hourly salary increase over our earlier trainees. • Engaged a daily average of 250 chronically homeless men and women through conversation and breakfast through our First Helping program, building relationships and connecting them with vital services. • Recruited hundreds of thousands of volunteers for the fight against hunger. Last year, 14,000 individuals donated their time and talents to our organization. • Replicated our model on the campuses of 26 colleges and high schools across America through our student-powered hunger relief program, The Campus Kitchens Project. Since 2001, CKP has recovered more than 1,000,000 pounds of food and served over 1,000,000 meals.
Target demographics: Our Meal Distribution program provides quality nutrition to 4,500 children, families, adults, and seniors each day. Recipients of our meals are clients of our 100 partner social service agencies, and thus represent a wide-cross section of our community, but all represent low-income and at-risk populations. Our Culinary Job Training students are unemployed adults working to overcome histories of substance abuse, incarceration, and homelessness. Nearly all are DC residents and approximately 80% of each class identify themselves as African-American. Our Healthy Returns program provides healthy meals and snacks, along with nutrition education, to low-income children in Washington, DC. Last year, 1,300 children benefited from Healthy Returns’ programming. Our First Helping street-level outreach program serves chronically homeless men and women in DC—specifically in downtown’s Golden Triangle District and Wards 7 and 8 east of the Anacostia River. Notably, we are the only outreach service working east of the river.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 10,000
Geographic areas served: Washington, DC
Programs: Our programs provide a comprehensive continuum of care to the people we serve. First, we provide breakfast, outreach, and counseling services to chronically homeless people living on the streets. Next we recycle 3,000 pounds of food each day, converting it into 4,500 meals we distribute to 100 shelters, transitional homes, and rehabilitation clinics throughout the DC area. These partner agencies then refer clients to our Culinary Job Training program, where they receive the tools to start new careers. We complete the empowerment process by employing our graduates in our full-service catering company or by placing them in full-time jobs at restaurants and hotels throughout the region. Today, we are expanding our operations, partnering with local farmers to procure fresh produce and begin new revenue-generating social enterprises.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Several friends and I (all high schoolers) wanted to give back to the community a little this summer by volunteering at DCCK. Our evening was well-organized, efficient, fun, and rewarding. While we chopped and peeled vegetables, it was wonderful to meet our truly fascinating fellow volunteers and get to know them.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-7-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

Eight members of our company volunteered to help prepare meals at the DC Central Kitchen. We were all very impressed by the dedication, organization, humility and overall energy by those that run this amazing organization. We have much respect for what they do and for their mission. We were so thrilled be able to contribute in some small way. 4,0000 healthy meals made, 365 days a year and distributed across the DC area = amazing.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

enthusiastic, upbeat, organized, professional, articulate, methodical, engaging

Ways to make it better...

I was able to join everyone in eating lunch after our work was done (I have specific food allergies so I could not partake)

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

9 people found this review helpful

this organization provides a much needed service to the dc community. their clients value it, and for good reason. I was lucky enough to sample the food and it was amazing!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

in hungry folks having a chance at better health and happiness.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ways to make it better...

I knew a way I could help make sure the food and ingredients were sourced from local and organic farms.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010-1-01

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

8 people found this review helpful

This is (by far) the best organized volunteer experience you can have in DC. I have volunteered at several places in DC and DC Central Kitchen regularly makes we feel appreciated and really makes you work. Other places don't know what to do with you but DC Central Kitchen has a plan and work for everyone who walks in the door.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

their amazing organization. They know how to use volunteers and appreciate your contributions.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

very friendly and helpful. Some of the best NGO staff you'll find in DC.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

end hunger in DC.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

12 people found this review helpful

The National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP) visited DC Central Kitchen in 2009 to learn more about their culinary training program - and came away impressed not only by their ability to help very low-income people with barriers to employment get good jobs but also by their ability to involve industry as partners in delivering the program and providing placements to graduates. We were therefore proud and grateful to include them as a site visit in our recent national conference.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

knowledgeable - both about the needs of participants and about culinary training - and deeply committed to serving those most in need.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

I interned with this fabulous non-profit in 2007. I honestly feel as though non-profits should use DCCK as an example of great management and innovative programs that are also successful. If the goal is to acutally see a lasting change and to make a lasting difference - this is how it should be done. Rock on DCCK. I am a former intern turned into a life-long supporter. I do not live close to DCCK anymore so I give in small amounts but I am captured by their tremendous mission and hope to continue to give whatever I can whenever I can.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

MENTORS! They are all innovative and passionate about what they do.

Ways to make it better...

I was able to stay longer and learn more. Since I was working in development I was not able to be more involved on the programmatic level.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

26 people found this review helpful

I contracted with DCCK for an event at the Junior League of Washington and was incredibly impressed in every regard. Professionalism and positive attitudes abound at DCCK, and the hors d'oeuvres were delicious and the prices unmatched by any other caterer in a 100-mile radius. As a charitable organization ourselves, the JLW also loved the idea that DCCK is giving back to the community. I highly recommend using DCCK for your next event, they were amazing!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

go to bed happy every night.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

how friendly and easy Ama was to work with to put our menu together.

Ways to make it better...

n/a

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-4-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

DCCK has a wonderful mission and it is a great place to Volunteer. The people are outstanding and show true appreciation for whatever you do.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In the way they use the donated food and the quality of people that gratuate from the culinary school.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

Seeing the quantity of healthy food that isw produced for the homeless.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

from all walks of life, with all different experiences, but all with the same goal of helping others

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

feed more homeless, educate more people, and reproduce it self in more places.

Ways to make it better...

No complaints

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

One thing I'd also say is that...

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

On own

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

28 people found this review helpful

Great organization-- well-organized, focused, and truly appreciative of volunteer efforts. Even when I've had a long day at work and am tired, I'm always glad to have made it over to chop veggies for a few hours. It does me good. Thanks to all for the good vibes!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the dedication and commitment and great attitude of everyone who works there.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

it's an incredibly smart use of people power and resources. It provides a way for all kinds of people to participate-- I've learned so much from my fellow veggie-choppers and supervisors.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

kind, thoughtful, and with a good sense of humor.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

make an even bigger dent in the fight against hunger.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

I come weekly as an individual

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

30 people found this review helpful

A small group from my Rotaract Club volunteered to prep food in the evening from 5-8. I appreciated that the volunteer coordinator gave us a brief orientation about the organization and its programs, as well as what we would be helping them with that night and how to be safe in the kitchen. All of us enjoyed our time there and agreed that we would definitely go back in the future.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

were friendly and approachable.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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