DC Central Kitchen, Inc.

Rating: 4.76 stars   59 reviews

Issues: Job Training, Food, Homeless & Housing, Human Services

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.
Write a Review

See How 3Hrs Can Help

Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

Great staff and positive morale. Met some great people, and would definitely do it again. Left DCCK with a smile on my face.

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

very helpful and supportive if you weren't sure what to do. They were congenial and tried to make sure you had a good time while helping others.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Rotaract Club of Washington, DC

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

I have volunteered with DC Central Kitchen on my days off, usually a few times a month. But since my days off are not consistent, it's great that DCCK has flexible and easy volunteer scheduling, so I'm not committed to a certain day or schedule. The kitchen at DCCK is a well-oiled machine. They have experienced chefs working with volunteers of every level, and volunteers are never in over their heads. They are used to, and good at, having volunteers around.

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

the staff that I've worked with, some of whom have been through the 12-week chef training program

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

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

enthusiastic!

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

find the most efficient way to squeeze every meal it could out of the cash

Ways to make it better...

I could have seen some of the end-results of our product, ie, where the meals end up.

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?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

This is the BEST place to go if you want to serve and have fun. The people there are so wonderful. They have the best attitudes. It's literally like a family. I want to go so much more that I have gone. I've been there twice so far and each time has been better. The time goes by so quick. I had to leave early the second time and I promise you, I did not want to leave. If you are looking to serve and have a wonderful experience preparing food for the ones who need it and appreciate it, this is definitely the place for you. It fills up quickly because it's so great. They've also added night schedules for people to serve. All I can say is, you have not served, until you have been to the DC Central Kitchen. They take serving the community to whole new fun exciting level.

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

the community and in the lives of the people who have served there.

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

create more openings for volunteers.

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

that the people are so welcoming. It's a family.

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

friendly and lovable.

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

do wonders with the helping the needy people in DC.

Ways to make it better...

I didn't have to leave so early.

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

nothing that I can see. Maybe more workers and more sponsors (but everyone always needs more). I must say that they work well with what they already have.

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

I'm definitely going back to serve.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

The Mississippi Club of Howard University

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

During the week that my group stayed in Washington DC we helped out at multiple organizations to help homelessness; and out of the 6 or 7 service that we did I would like to say that DCCK was the best experience for me. I had fun cooking at talking to the people around e. I thoroughly enjoyed my entire time there , I didn't want to leave. (1/12/2009)

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

Ronald and Fred and they were very friendly and kind and informative, I talked to Ronald about school and how he ended up where he was and what got him through and what e is doing today and we talked about family and movies and music and stereotypes. I just loved talking to him

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

YSOP

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

Volunteering at DCCK was a wonderful experience - the people there are truly inspiring individuals that really believe in what they do and are eager to share their passions with you. I learned so much, from how to properly cut 400 potatoes in one shift to how social entrepreneurship can really change people's lives and transform a community. Robert Egger is so inspiring, as are all the people who have made his vision a reality. Go DCCK!!

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

talking to both the staff members who have successfully completed DCCK's Culinary Training School, and the other volunteers who come from all over the country.

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

Well organized, accountable, friendly, and passionate

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

end hunger and poverty in America

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

DC Central Kitchen is an amazing innovative place that takes leftovers from restaurants and other places and turns it into meals for the needy. The chefs and staff are very friendly and I learned some basic cooking skills like how to chop onions and carrots properly.

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

talking to the homeless on the streets of DC. Their meals do get to those that need them.

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

try to continue doing the same great work it's doing now.

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

meeting fellow volunteers and working with the chefs and staff.

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

friendly and liked talking about their experience in the kitchen and why they liked working there.

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

create more kitchens worldwide.

Ways to make it better...

the orientation around the kitchen were better.

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

?

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

the food is good!

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Gettysburg College

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

Not only does DCCK provide 4,500 meals a day to individuals throughout the Washington DC community, they also provide a life changing opportunity to it's Culinary Job Training Trainees. DCCK is such an inspiring place to volunteer. All of the staff are warm and welcoming and are willing to share their stories. DCCK is an all-around great place to be.

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

the stories of trainees and employees.

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

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

the fun I had while helping 4,500 people and learning about the issues of hunger and homelessness.

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

simply amazing!!

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

expand it's operations and feed more people while also expanding it's training program and not need to turn away trainees.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer.

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

the small space in which they work.

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

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Central Michigan University

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

I'm in Washington, D.C., taking a class for my university, and we had the incredible opportunity to work at DC Central Kitchen yesterday, and the experience was incredible. Before leaving, I was doubtful whether this nonprofit that I didn't know much about would be able to accommodate the 30 people in our group in a way that would allow everyone to be utilized and not be standing around bored. Fortunately, the kitchen is very well organized and the staff is kind and cooperative. Our group received continual directions when needed, and we had a great time. If I lived in the DC area, I would surely be returning a lot. The Central Kitchen is a great project for people of all ages, including those like myself who are in college. Check out the DC Central Kitchen website www.dccentralkitchen.org They have information on there for students about how to get involved at our own schools as well.

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

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

the staff is so nice, and I could easily see the product of all my work. Also, they let any volunteers stick around for lunch with the staff which was great, free food!

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

Start similar projects in other cities that would help alleviate hunger in a way the U.S. has never seen.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer.

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?

Elon University

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

16 people found this review helpful

I loved DCCK! They opened their arms and welcomed my groups help. We were there for a week working every day in the kitchen and loved every minute of it. The people are so nice and grateful for everything we were willing to help with. They were also VERY accommadating as well. I have many allergies, I'm pretty much allergic to life and they still allowed me to work and kept me safe at the same time. They watched over me like I was one of their daugthers. I loved DCCK. It's the best environment with the most cheerful people.

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

the shelter that they provide food for. We would go up and serve the food we prepared and the people were so nice to us and they just appreciated us being there. Not to mention the people who go through the program there are some of the nicest and generious people I've ever met.

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

Ask the shelter what kind of food they might like to have. It's some times repetitive and i can understand getting tired of the same things all the time.

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

The people. They were phenomenal! They laughed and sung with us. They were always cheerful and they told us their stories. We bonded and I love every one of them.

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

The staff was fantasic. Simply amazing, I don't think I'll ever meet another group of people that inspired me so much.

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

Serve and do so much mroe for the community! DCCK is an amazing organization and I'd love to see them get more funding to help more people on the streets and in the shelter.

Ways to make it better...

I wasn't allergic to literally everything, but they still put me to work and I had a blast!

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

Their biggest challenge I think are getting the right people to work in the kitchen. I mean as volunteers not staff. Volunteers are sometimes there because they have too not always because they want too and because their care, that just makes it kind of a downer sometimes.

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

DCCK was the best volunteer environment I've ever been too. I would recommend it to anyone that whats to interact with amazing staff and have a blast. I was sad when I had to leave.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Central Michigan University: Alternative Winter Break

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

14 people found this review helpful

Great experience for my wife and I. We were travelling through the area and happy for the chance to volunteer at DC Central.

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

the kitchen we worked in.

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

meeting the people who worked there, who turned their life around.

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

excellent.

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

franchise itself to spread throughout North America.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Retired

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-10-01

Was this review helpful?