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  

16 people found this review helpful

I have thoroughly enjoyed each of my volunteer shifts at DCCK. I feel like I'm doing something that directly impacts the community. I also really appreciate the things I learn from the kitchen staff (most of whom are graduates of the Central Kitchen's Culinary Job Training program). They make sure we volunteers are all working safely and in a sanitary way. The volunteer orientation is well-organized and gives a great overview of the programs that DCCK runs, as well as explaining what will go on during that particular shift and how it fits into the bigger picture.

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

the kitchen - where their graduates are now employed.

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

feeling like I'm making a direct contribution to the less fortunate members of the community.

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

enthusiastic, informed, and friendly.

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

do even more of the great work it does; pass along to other communities the lessons learned so they could be put into practice elsewhere; do more with the donated produce from local farms.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-8-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

18 people found this review helpful

DC Central Kitchen is a great place to volunteer. It's fun and rewarding. You meet great people while helping people in need.

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

that it is a fun place to volunteer because you meet great people while helping people in need.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2005-12-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

After my daughter colunteered this past summer, we wanted to come see DCCK. She was so impressed with all that they accomplished that we as a family decided to support them financially and with more time. The rest of us came and cut peppers for chiliman. Everyone was so professional and kind. It was great to learn about all the organizations they support. [This review was collected at a site visit to DCCK and inputted by a GreatNonprofits intern.]

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

the organizations they support including a new one starting today for women and children with HIV. The people they train for culinary jobs.

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

helping such a productive organization.

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

friendly, professional, efficient.

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

clone itself in more cities.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

20 people found this review helpful

After my daughter colunteered this past summer, we wanted to come see DCCK. She was so impressed with all that they accomplished that we as a family decided to support them financially and with more time. The rest of us came and cut peppers for chiliman. Everyone was so professional and kind. It was great to learn about all the organizations they support.

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

the organizations they support including a new one starting today for women and children with HIV. The people they train for culinary jobs.

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

helping such a productive organization.

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

friendly, professional, efficient.

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

clone itself in more cities.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

DCCK is a wonderful place to go to school. I have learned a lot about the kitchen. I will be graduated in October 08. I learned how to work as a team player and help people when they ask me. And staying focus on my job as DCCK. I love being here and one day maybe I will get a job here. [This review was collected at a site visit to DCCK and inputted by a GreatNonprofits intern.]

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

I have seen all the meals they repair at DCCK everyday and I have help with the meals also.

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

I enjoyed working with the different chef's and learnign from the chef's.

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

The staff and volunteers are wonderful people to be aroudn everyday they helps me and I help them always.

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

be a bigger kitchen and have more workers here and could help out more people.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 4 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

Having been in food service for numerous years, I found myself without a job and without my food handlers license. I had been exposed to DCCK several years prior and thought this would be the opportune time to avail myself of their services. At this juncture, so far so good.

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

the sheer number of people that they serve.

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

focus exclusively on hands-on kitchen skills for a set number of weeks. Then focus exclusively on book work for the remainder of the time.

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

seeing exactly what feeding nearly 5000 people entail. Observing the process of coordinating volunteers, students, staff, donors, and those curious about the organization's mission.

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

helpful

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

overhaul the kitchen which is antiquated to say the least.

Ways to make it better...

the duration of time spent in the process was lessened.

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?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I came to DCCK for the first time July 2008 with the organization YouthWorks. I was immediately impressed with how efficiently the kitchen was running. I was taught how to cut vegetables in a timely manner and how to keep my workspace clean. It was very interesting to see a nonprofit organization impact so many organizations and individuals. I am 16 years old and hope to bring my friends and family to donate time to this organization.

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

the people DCCK trains. They are polite and efficient.

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

how professional everyone was and how clean everything was kept.

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

efficient, kind, well-trained

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

spread into different cities and feed thousands more.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I think it's a wonderful opportunity for a person who doesn't have skills to improve their life, get a better job, and help their community. This is wonderful place to start.

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

they way they combat hunger. It's the greatest reward. Even though I don't get paid here, I know I'm contributing. I'm putting in something. It's my turn to give back.

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

not change a thing.

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

learning how to do certain things (cut with a knife, mixing seasonings, meeting my classmates)

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

Ms. Ali was what I needed at the time. I was a challenge, and she's been in my corner since then.

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

produce more cooks, feed more homeless people, get better equipment.

Ways to make it better...

the classes were longer.

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

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

I'd like to thank everyone here at DC Central Kitchen. Please continue all that you do. God bless, stay strong.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

19 people found this review helpful

I am currently a greatful student at DC Central Kitchen. I have learned alot and love the program. The hands on hands experience is something that I will treasure for the rest of my life. The staff is wonderful. You learn alot of things about the kitchen that you never would have learned on your own or in the world. For this to be a non profit organization they are very helpful and generous. I love to cook and to bake but never had any idea how many things I was doing wrong. I thank DC Central Kitchen from the bottom of my heart. If you love to cook and no one else will give you a chance this is the place to be. Not only for your self but for your future for your career not just a job. DC Central Kitchen is the best!

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

The results I have witnessed are growth and graduation.

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

Expand the space.

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

I have enjoyed everything about this organization.

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

Where open minded, helpful, and great people all around.

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

An outstanding very large very diverse organization that would be able to help alot more areas than what this organization already does.

Ways to make it better...

If I had more hands on hands experience in the kitchen, or if the classes where a little longer.

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

Finding a job and cutting onions (Smile)

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

I love DC Central Kitchen and I thank them. Keep up the good work

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008-9-01

Was this review helpful?