By Southwester Staff

In early May, DC Central Kitchen marked a milestone, serving 50 million meals over its 35-year history. Since moving into its new facility, the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice in Southwest, last spring, DC Central Kitchen has nearly doubled its daily meal production, and now delivers 16,500 meals each day to community partners and schools throughout the city. 

“We’re never going to feed our way out of hunger. It’s a harsh reality that we knew on day one in 1989 and remains evident to this day,” CEO Michael Curtin, Jr. said in a press release. “Food, when used as a tool to create pathways to opportunity and living wage jobs, not only strengthens bodies, but it empowers minds and builds communities. Behind every one of the 50 million meals we have served is a training and career opportunity that empowered someone to change their life while nourishing our city.”

The social enterprise nonprofit works with more than 80 community partners, including shelters, recovery centers, and senior facilities, to provide prepared meals that allow those organizations to focus on core programming and other resources for their clients. Additionally, DC Central Kitchen prepares scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and suppers at 30 schools citywide where many students rely on school meals.

DC Central Kitchen now employs more than 300 individuals, nearly half of whom are graduates of the organization’s Culinary Job Training program for those overcoming homelessness, incarceration, trauma, and food insecurity. Volunteers also played a large role in reaching the milestone, as DC Central Kitchen has welcomed 15,000 volunteers at its new facility since restarting the volunteer program in April 2023, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are truly grateful for the 15,000 volunteers who have lent a hand at our new home and the more than 250,000 volunteers who have made our work possible over the past 35 years. Their efforts have been critical to the 50 million meals we have served since 1989,” Curtin said. “Just as important, each of those generous individuals has worked side by side with students and graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. Our city can solve any challenge when we work together, and these milestones are a powerful reminder about the importance of continuing to step up and focus on long-term solutions.”

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