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: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

D.C. Central Kitchen has not only provided me with a meaningful way of helping the community, but also practical cooking and organizational skills that led to several employment opportunities. This is one of the best non-profits out there and there's no better way to get to know it than by volunteering.

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

first-hand ways and when looking at community change.

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

change nothing, everybody's doing a great job.

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

interactions with the staff, trainees, and other volunteerse.

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

passionate about their work, aware of the change they are creating, and talented chefs.

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

expand to meet more needs, but it's not just about money.

Ways to make it better...

we had a brief time where volunteers could meet each other.

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

meeting increased demands with limited resources and staying innovative when the model has become institutionalized.

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

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Bowdoin College

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

23 people found this review helpful

I'm impressed with DC Central Kitchen. I had a great experience volunteering at the Kitchen to prepare food for the homeless. The staff were friendly, patient and emphasise to the volunteers the importance of cleanliness, safety and presentation. DCCK makes a big impact on the community thru their various programs and helps to break the cycle of homelessness.

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

Helping to combat hunger and strengthening communities in the Washington DC Metro area thru food that everyone can relate.

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

Volunteering is easy at DCCK to make a difference.

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

Warm, friendly and showed a desire to work help the volunteers.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

The entire ledership from my organization came out to support the DC Central Kitchen. It was a wondeful experience and the people are truly nice. All federal agencies shoudl consider suipporting this organizatio throughtheir volunteer programs.

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

wonderful and helpful

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

change DC

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Federal Agency

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-2-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

It was the most fun few hours chopping vegetables I've ever had. I really enjoyed chatting with other volunteers working alongside me, and the kitchen staff was friendly and never lacking in jobs for us to do. One tip: wear your baseball cap if you don't want to have to take a hair net.

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

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

volunteers were young and very civic-minded, smart. The staff were chef types-- they ran an efficient kitchen. And they had good stories to tell.

Ways to make it better...

there was slightly better communication between staff there and volunteers.

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

22 people found this review helpful

DCCK is by far one of the best places in the DC Metro area to go serve at! The entire staff at the Kitchen always create a positive atmosphere when you go serve and make you want to keep coming back!

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

feed every hungry person in the DC Metro area!

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Lott Carey International Youth Department

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

25 people found this review helpful

I always have an enjoyable time when volunteering at the DCCK. It's so much fun that I always try to bring at least one new friend every time!

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

that it is flexible and never mundane because the menu/jobs change every week

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  

22 people found this review helpful

We took eight Cub Scouts and various family members to the Kitchen for an absolutely fabulous experience. The boys learned about the Kitchen's mission to feed and to teach through cooking. We learned about the jobs program and how the Kitchen manages volunteers, food donations, and their 4500 meals per day volume. Nutritionist Dahlia served as host for the day, giving us a tour punctuated by comments from a generous head chef. We learned about how the Kitchen keeps an eye on nutritional needs of the families it serves, and we even had a quick exercise refreshing on the Food Pyramid. The boys were finally able to lend a hand themselves when they mixed some dry food donations into trail mix bags. We couldn't have planned for a better experience. Thank you.

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

action. We were there as they put together meals for families and educated our boys about how food and cooking can uplift those in need.

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

do things exactly the same

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

generousness of spirit

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

many and varied. All different job responsibilities, professional backgrounds, ethnic communities, and ages. Open arms for everyone.

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

further replicate its model in other areas, solidify funding for programs underway

Ways to make it better...

We remembered to ask for a walk-away something, button, folder, brochure, memento, etc.

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

constricted financial situation of government, donors, economy in general

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

Dahlia does a great job bonding with hyper eight year olds and Mike Curtin is my hero.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

17 people found this review helpful

It was an amazing experience. I was very impressed with the organization. The questions and answer session was so helpful and made me love the organization even more every answer i received. The volunteering went by so quickly. Everyone had a specific job and a person to answer their questions. It was wonderful.

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

My volunteer group. We were all changed about our views of homelessness, hunger, and the role of charity today. The dc community, people are changed by food and love.

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

Feel accomplished and happy. I could never run it as well as it is run now.

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

How refreshing it is for people to have new and great ideas, that just make sense. The people and organization. It was so well run, there was never a moment of confusion.

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

Amazing! everyone was friendly and extremely helpful. they all seemed to have super dedication to the organization. Understandably so too, it is so well run and just a great place.

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

CHANGE THE WORLD! Reshape charity, feed the United States and reach out to the rest of the world.

Ways to make it better...

it was longer

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

The economy and the lack of funding available today.

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

I hope that funding works out in the future and i will recommend this organization to everyone i meet.

Should this review be counted for a specific campaign?

Randolph College Peace and Diplomacy Community

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-11-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

I had a wonderful experience working in the prep kitchen. They were well prepared for us and well organized and there was plenty for everyone to do. About 20 of us worked for almost 3 hours after which I had made some new friends and felt like I had helped the community (and my own karma!)

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

The great product they put out for the hungry.

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

focus more on fundraising

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

doing good and feeling good about it

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

super people and fun to get to know.

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

Feed the world!

Ways to make it better...

I had more time and could do it more.

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

getting additional funding

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

everyone should volunteer.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-6-01

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Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I have loved my experience at DC Central Kitchen. From every level, DCCK has provided the best volunteer experience possible. The staff does a great job of explaining not only the specifics of everything that you are doing but also the inner workings of the organization and how we fit in. On a personal level though, the staff could not be more warm and friendly, including spontaneous outbreaks of dance to oldies music. I have worked at other non-profits before where I felt like I was doing something good, but before DC Central Kitchen I never felt like I was part of a team. They make the experience such that you never feel like you are volunteering your time but spending time with old friends and meeting new ones.

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

the graduates and students of their Job Training Program.

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

change nothing.

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

meeting the staff and fellow volunteers.

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

some of the kindest, warm-hearted people that I've met.

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

train hundreds of new workers through its job training program, help to compelte its work eliminating hunger and poverty in DC and raise awareness of the issues creating it.

Ways to make it better...

the volunteers who had signed up to volunteer had showed up to work.

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

raising awareness in the community.

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

I plan to continue volunteering here for as long as I live in the area.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-11-01

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