Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity

DC Central Kitchen is America's leader in reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise.
Instagram Pinterist Facebook Twitter

Latest Updates

Updates for National Programs

Sodexo, Unilever, and the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern celebrate summer feeding efforts

, August 17th, 2012

CKNU Sodexo ServingThe summer has not slowed down one bit for the volunteers at the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU) – they’ve been busy making 22,000 meals!

Partnering together since 2005, Sodexo Foundation’s Feeding Our Future program and CKNU work to provide free summer lunches to children to fill the summer meal gap. To celebrate all of the hard work that goes into making so many meals, volunteers from CKNU, Sodexo, and Unilever Food Sulutions hosted an educational event at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center.

On Tuesday, 125 children from the greater Chicago area participated in the celebration. By going to six different learning stations, children ages 4 to 12 got some hands-on experience by making yogurt parfaits, trying different types of vegetables, and challenging one another in a MyPlate inspired relay race. Sodexo nutritionists and chefs, as well as Unilever and CKNU volunteers, guided the children through the stations and helped them “learn about healthy food choices.”

At the end of the event, everyone enjoyed a healthy lunch that included whole wheat wraps with red pepper hummus, grilled vegetables and black beans, and a side of fruit.

But the summer is not over yet. Over the next few weeks, CKNU will continue to work with Feeding Our Future to produce thousands of meals and snacks to meet local need, and they will continue with their nutritional education programs to ensure that children develop healthy eating habits. “There is one simple thing that any of us can do to offer our children a leg up in the world. Feed them,” said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation.

Together, Sodexo Foundation, Unilever, and CKNU are doing just that.

Chobani’s Shepherd’s Gift Foundation supports Campus Kitchens’ Summer Initiatives

, July 13th, 2012

Campus Kitchens Project (CKP) and its 5,000 student volunteers tackle hunger in more than 30 communities nationwide. This summer, CKP and Chobani are teaming up to bring more healthy meals and snacks to children who rely on school meal programs, but struggle to find quality nutrition when school lets out.

Finding enough snacks to last from June to August can be tough, but next week, Chobani is providing 4,000 servings of yogurt to locations in Washington, DC, Boston, and the greater Chicago community. The yogurt cups will be served to children at summer camps and enrichment programs, but will also be incorporated into the week’s recipes and nutritional education classes.

The Campus Kitchens Project also receives financial support from the Shepherd’s Gift Foundation, which donates 10% of Chobani’s annual profits to a variety of causes and community initiatives. Thanks to Shepherd’s Gift, CKP will expand its summer services in 2012, recruiting 1,000 student volunteers to prepare 55,000 meals and in 25 US cities and towns, including 27,000 summer meals and snacks for at-risk children.

To learn more about other innovative organizations bringing positive change to their communities, check out

Gettysburg College, William and Mary receive awards for their service

, June 29th, 2012

Over the years, Campus Kitchens have served over 2 million meals while empowering students across the country to fight hunger. But volunteers do more than just rescue food or temporarily relieve hunger – they are relied upon by their communities to fill a gap in the social safety net. Their work has become an integral service that clients and organizations alike depend upon for food, education, and empowerment, and the ties between Campus Kitchen and clients go beyond meals. Dinners and delivery visits allow the volunteers and clients to feel as if they are a part of a community, and that interaction can make a great impact. The Campus Kitchens at Gettysburg College and the College of William and Mary were both recently recognized by their state governments for the difference that they have made.

Every week, the Campus Kitchen at Gettysburg College (CKGC) serves meals to families and children in their area, but it was their work with the Adams County Office for Aging (ACOFA) that captured the attention of the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. This spring, CKGC was awarded the 2012 Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nutrition for Older Pennsylvanians for their “dedication and innovation in expanding nutrition services to the older adults” in their community.

CKGC has been partnering with ACOFA since the spring of 2008 to provide 26 meals to senior citizens three times a week. In addition to delivering nutritious meals, Gettysburg students also provide company and entertainment during bi-weekly group meals that help foster a sense of community between student and client.

CKGC receiving their award


The Campus Kitchen at the College of William and Mary (CKWM) received the Governor’s Award for Volunteerism and Service from Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. CKWM has over 150 students who help prepare and deliver 175 meals a week to the residents at four public housing developments.

Like Gettysburg, CKWM does more than just provide food; the student volunteers work to engage and form relationships with their clients. They held a career seminar “in which they taught residents about preparing a resume and filling out a job application” and have started a mentoring program that pairs William and Mary students with grade school children.

CKWM with Gov. McDonnell


Both CKGC and CKWM better their communities by feeding their neighbors, providing support, and actively participating in the towns in which they live. Congratulations to all of the volunteers and coordinators for receiving these much deserved honors!

The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University and Sodexo: Cooking Together Through Kitchen Challenges

, March 9th, 2012

Each year, more than 5,000 energetic students lend their time and talents to Campus Kitchens across America and last Sunday at the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern (CKNU) was no different.  With help from Sodexo staff, CKNU held its first cooking shift of the semester and prepared about 150 meals. Normally, CKNU uses food that has already been prepared and recovered, so you may be wondering – why cook?

Well, a few weeks ago a Leadership Team member noticed a large number of kidney beans in the pantry that would expire in the next few months.  Instead of letting the beans expire, students got creative and searched the pantry for other items that would work with the beans to make a meal.

With the help of Grace Knight, Lead Manager at Allison Dining Hall who kindly volunteered her Sunday, volunteers were able to use the beans in a chili.  Grace helped students choose a recipe, cut up vegetables, and showed the Leadership Team the secret to perfectly seasoned chili. Sunday is just one example of how Sodexo and its staff support the CKNU.

Sodexo has supported CKNU since the kitchen was founded in 2003, and has donated almost 7,000 pounds since August alone. Sodexo has also supported CKNU during various seasonal events. Last November, they supported CKNU during TurkeyPalooza by donating over 1,500 pounds of food and helping volunteers cook and slice turkeys, and in the summer of 2011, Sodexo helped distribute 22,000 meals through the Feeding Our Future program.

Sodexo District Manager Steve Mangan recognized the importance of the partnership. “Feeding the hungry goes hand-in-hand with our dining operation at Northwestern and is a part of Sodexo’s commitment to the communities we serve,” Mangan states. “The Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University has been an integral partner in our efforts for many years. We look forward to growing this relationship and moving it forward.”

Sodexo and CKNU do not only share a common kitchen, but also a common goal: teach, reach, feed, and lead. We look forward to the next cooking shift and any challenges it may pose – does anyone have any ideas on how we can cook with peanut butter?

Campus Kitchen at Atlantic City makes big impact at ‘Farm to School’ conference

, March 2nd, 2012

Atlantic City @ Chilli Cook-off

This past weekend, the Campus Kitchen at Atlantic City (CKAtlC) presented at the New Jersey Farm to School Network Winter Conference, which took place in Atlantic City, NJ. The conference brought together a collaboration of K-12 schools, community groups, non-profits, businesses, higher education and statewide organizations, all of whom are working to bring good food to all NJ citizens.

CKAtlC represents a unique Campus Kitchen model because instead of only being associated with one school, the kitchen operates with five community partners, including: Stockton College, the Academy of Culinary Arts at Atlantic Cap Community College, the Atlantic City Board of Education, Sodexo Food Services, and the Atlantic City Boys and Girls Club.

It was a powerful presentation as representatives from each of the five partners spoke about the program’s success and impact in the community. Additionally, representatives from the CKP National Office, the Atlantic City Food Bank, Atlantic City High School volunteers, and Atlantic City residents talked about CKPAtlC’s importance.

Some highlights included hearing about the mentoring role that many of the Academy of Culinary Arts students have taken on for the Atlantic City High School volunteers in the kitchen.

The audience also heard from people who receive meals from CKPAtlC, one of whom is now a student at the Academy of Culinary Arts thanks to connections made through CKPAtlC.

It was very impactful to see all the many components of CKAtlC together, and they left a great impression on the audience at the conference.

White House Highlights CKP Director Maureen Roche as a “Champion of Change”

, January 11th, 2012

On Thursday, January 12th, eight local leaders who are following in the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. will be honored at the White House as Champions of Change. These men and women, who include business and non-profit leaders and community volunteers, have each taken great strides to improve the lives of others through volunteerism and in providing economic opportunity to others in their community.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

Maureen Roche serves as the director of The Campus Kitchens Project, the national program of DC Central Kitchen.  Since 2001, CKP has recovered more than 2 million pounds of food, engaged 45,000 student volunteers and has reinvested millions into the communities where they serve.  Under Maureen’s leadership, the Project has grown 200% since 2008 to 31 college and high school campuses in 20 states which serve 250,000 meals annually. The Campus Kitchens Project is using service as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities across the country.

To watch this event live, visit at 1:30 pm ET January 12th.