By Southwester Staff
DC Central Kitchen marked near completion of construction on its new headquarters, scheduled to open this fall on Buzzard Point, with a “first look” event joined by elected officials, including DC Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen, as well as philanthropists, community advocates and celebrity chef José Andrés.
The 36,000 square foot space on 2nd Street SW will be known as the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs & Justice and will become the nation’s largest community kitchen and urban food hub. The center will include a teaching kitchen, a cafe and a home base for the Healthy Corners program, which provides DC residents in areas without full-service grocery stores access to healthy food by equipping corner store owners with fresh and frozen produce.
DC Central Kitchen has run a culinary job training program for over 30 years, previously operating from a windowless basement in Northwest DC. The new facility will allow the organization to increase graduates from the training program by 150 percent, create 50 new, full-time, living wage jobs and double daily meal production to 25,000 nutritious, locally sourced meals.
For the past two years, Andrés and Donohoe Hospitality President Thomas Penny have co-chaired the Bringing the Kitchen Home Campaign, a $35 million fundraising effort to build out the new facility in Southwest.
At the “first look” event, Andrés committed an additional $500,000 in a matching challenge to support DC Central Kitchen’s growing programs within its new home. Craigslist founder Craig Newmark also pledged $250,000 in matching funds to encourage additional philanthropic support. The District of Columbia government previously provided $2.3 million in grants through the DC Workforce Investment Council and the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund to support the launch of the new facility.