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.
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Community Reviews

Rating: 4 stars  

15 people found this review helpful

A great place to donate your time. This organization not only provides healthy meals to homeless shelters and other community groups, but it trains homeless people to become chefs! I walk out of this place every month feeling like I have accomplished something - and frequently take home cooking tips 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...

feeling of giving back to the community by helping a very worthy cause

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

very helpful and interested in making sure we had the tools and knowledge needed

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

replace some of the older ovens

Ways to make it better...

knives were sharper

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?

Burgundy Crescent Volunteers

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

I've volunteered at DCCK about every other month for the past 18 months and have really enjoyed it. The staff is very nice and professional and appreciate our volunteer services. They let you take on responsibility, especially once they get to know you (after repeated visits). My only complaint is that the briefing at the start of the day can get very long--I've taken to coming late just to miss it since I've heard it before and it isn't so much about safety as about the philosophy of DCCK. But overall, it is fantastic.

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

...the quality and quantity of food that is produced in one morning. Given the number of homeless/poor people in DC, they are making a big impact.

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

...try to find a sanitary way to include recycling of packaging materials (particularly cans)--there is so much waste produced each day and nothing is recycled.

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

...knowing that I'm spending my time on something that really matters. My 3 hours of work is ensuring that hundreds of people will eat that day.

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

...really nice and professional. It is a fun place to help out and you always meet interesting people.

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

...continue to upgrade its facilities, keep up with the growing demand, and find a way to safely recycle all the cans it currently throws in the garbage.

Ways to make it better...

...they keep the briefing at the start to 5-10 minutes MAX! One time it went on for 40 minutes--zzzz.

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

...the economy. With so many more people heading into poverty, DCCK is going to be needed more now than at any time in its existance.

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

...this is an important organization for DC. It deserves support.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Burgundy Crescent and SRA International

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-1-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

My experience at DCCK was great. I have volunteered there a few times before, I plan to continue. Everyone involved is dedicated and committed to the mission. The staff emphasizes good hygiene during food preparation and quality food. The staff explains the mission to the volunteers and tells them how the food is helping others.

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

speaking with graduates of the culinary program.

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

I would not change a thing. I would continue to work with the community to get the food where it is needed, raise money for equipment, and find volunteers.

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

knowing that work I did that day will help someone the same day.

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

a pleasure to work with and dedicated.

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

it could do the same thing in more places.

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed longer.

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

finding enough people who care to help and ensuring they reach everyone that needs help.

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

I like the fact that DCCK does more than just provide food. They help people become self-sufficient.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

One Brick

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

DC Central Kitchen is a great place to volunteer. I have organized to volunteer with 15 different groups in the last 1 1/2 years. More than 400 volunteers, including 100 young adults have participated. We all had great time. Jerald Thaoma the Kitchen Director, Carolyn Parham the volunteer co-ordinator ar of great help. They help us by getting the provisions, we need. Communicate, in case of Machine breakdowns. They and the entire staff are very helpfull in getting the vegetarian meal prepared in time. They also help in organizing the tour of Community for Non-Violence facility. We are looking forward voulnteer at the least once a month for ever. DCCK is a great place to volunteer. K.G. Venkatraman (Ramani) Hindu Community Service Organizer and donor.

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

making full use of the volunteers.

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

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

Ability of the organization to serve a noble cause with fun and without any stress.

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

very nice and harworking

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

Repalce the failing ovens and renovate the kitchen and storage facility.

Ways to make it better...

some of the equipments were refurnished.

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  

17 people found this review helpful

This is a great organization - great people to work with and the ability to make an actual contribution with your time. Mr. Egger even drops by most days which is always inspiring! We've volunteered here for years, and now my son is old enough to volunteer too. Talk about quality time!

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

folks are fed all over DZC.

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

be thrilled to come to work each day.

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

Interaction with the staff and trainees.

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

Dedicated, kind and helpful.

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

Build several more kitchens and training centers throughout the region.

Ways to make it better...

I was better with a knife!

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

the fact that grocery stores and restaurants are improving their food processes so there are fewer items to share with DCCK.

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

Come volunteer, you won't be disappointed.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

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Rating: 4 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

We were really impressed with the mission of this program and how everything was interconnected. The tasks we did were so minuscule, but overall helpful when you think about everything the staff at DC Central Kitchen have to do. We enjoyed working together and with our team leaders. We would definitely do this again.

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

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

how easy is it was to set of volunteers and how organize/efficient they were.

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

very welcoming and fun to work with.

Ways to make it better...

we did a variety of tasks.

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?

University of Maryland Incentive Awards Program

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

I am the parent of a 16 year old. She LOVED IT. She brought 3 friends a different times and they LOVED IT. That says alot to get a teenager to like anything that much and it is not related to music or some teen function That says alot about your program. Thank you so much! They continue to volunteer just because not because it is a requirement. Yeah! Happy Holidays to you all!

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 teenagers loved it.

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

wonderful and fun

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

spread love and happiness

Ways to make it better...

they didn't have to walk through the alley.

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?

2008-11-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

Hands down - DCCK is the greatest place to volunteer. The staff and fellow volunteers offer comfort and camaraderie, and really let you know that your efforts are not only appreciated, but make a real difference in the lives of many.

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

The staff - James; Jerold; Freddy; Bo; Chef Bullock...and all the unmentioned (including volunteers), but no less appreciated staff that work tirelessly everyday to combat hunger in the lives of DC's neediest.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-11-01

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Role: Volunteer
Rating: 5 stars  

24 people found this review helpful

DC Central Kitchen was one of the best places I've volunteered at.The staff was very supportive and one of the best I've ever been around with.

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

After school programs

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

How they make everyone feel welcome no matter who and what you do. Everyone is treated the same

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

Very friendly and easy to work with

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

Be able to help so many more people

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Fannie Mae

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-10-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

21 people found this review helpful

DC Central Kitchen was one of the best places i've volunteered at. I've learn to make good food, cleaned up, washed dishes, and so forth. The staff was very supportive and one of the best i've ever been around with. The chefs know how to prepare food and they teach you ways to do it. That's how i've keep coming back.

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

Preparing food quickly before 12 noon by showing leadership and keeping things together to make sure that nothing bad happens.

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

Learning how to prepare food by making sure that nothing goes wrong with the food and developing leadership and assisting volunteers on how to make food and to make sure they watch what they're doing.

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

Chefs that are about business by practicing quality control, doing things right, and getting them done on time. The chefs are very serious about that. Furthermore, i've met 2 or 3 people that about the business of DC Central Kitchen such as Hilary Espinosa who is First Helping Manager, Ana who works for Fresh Start, and others. The volunteers i've met were local and out-of-state (Wisconsin, Minnesota, Oregon, Georgia, etc).

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

Invest in a new building (have state-of-the-art kitchen so the organization can be up-to-date).

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-2-01

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