DC Central Kitchen uses food to change lives, strengthen communities, and creatively take on our city’s biggest challenges. We use fresh, local farm products to fuel four integrated initiatives that empower low-income children and families in Washington, DC to lead healthier, more prosperous lives. Together, these initiatives make up our Healthy Futures program.
First, Healthy Futures uses our purchasing power and expertise to help small and disadvantaged local farmers build their capacity to sell wholesale goods.
These partnerships reduce food waste while reinvesting critical resources in our area economy. Next, we use these fresh fruits and vegetables to provide DC children with access to nutritious food throughout the day, through the four prongs of Healthy Futures:
- Schools – We prepare nearly 6,800 healthy, scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and dinners each day for 3,600 low-income children enrolled at 10 DC public and private schools.
- Youth Programs – We provide quality meals, snacks, and nutrition education to 32 after-school programs and summer camps for low-income youth.
- Corner Stores – We distribute fresh produce and nutritious snacks to 71 corner stores in DC’s ‘food deserts’ – low income communities where healthy food access is limited. Thanks to us, children looking for affordable, easy-to-eat snacks can now choose trail mix and hand fruit over candy and chips.
- Nutrition Education – Thanks to our connections with more than 2 dozen area youth programs, a partnership with Washington Jesuit Academy, and our Truck Farm – a mobile urban garden planted in the bed of a pickup truck – we offer hands-on learning activities for children and parents, teaching them about making healthy choices, preparing nutritious meals, and shopping for quality food on tight budgets. By involving children and parents, we empower entire households to eat healthier.
And each Healthy Futures initiative creates good jobs for formerly unemployed, at-risk DC residents who graduated from DC Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program and now support themselves while giving back to their community.
Across America, childhood nutrition programs fall short because they only serve children in one place or at one time. By meeting children’s needs on their way to school, at school, after school, and in their homes, we offer a holistic, wraparound solution to childhood hunger. And Healthy Futures’ sustainability is ensured by its commitment to job creation, local investment, and sound environmental practices.