COVID-19 + Volunteer Program Update

The COVID-19 response is changing rapidly, so for the most up to date information on our efforts, please visit: dccentralkitchen.org/covid-19

Dear DC Central Kitchen Family –

We continue to closely monitor developments surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak. As always, the safety and well-being of those we serve and our staff is of the greatest importance to our organization. Regrettably, out of an abundance of caution, we are suspending our volunteer program effective Monday, March 16 through Monday, April 27.  We will make a decision about re-opening our doors to volunteers based on future guidance from experts and public health officials.

In the meantime, our efforts to prepare thousands of daily meals for our community will continue, and our dedicated staff will be creatively redeployed across our facilities. For 31 years, volunteers have been at the center of our operation – and your support is essential to our ability to meet the demand for healthy food in our city. We recognize the hard choice that hundreds of volunteers have made in the past week to cancel their scheduled shifts at DC Central Kitchen, totaling 1,065 hours of essential labor that we’ve had to back-fill with paid staff. Rather than force more people to make that hard decision and subject our operation to further disruption, we are proactively ceasing our volunteer operation. We believe this action will ensure the resiliency of our meal preparation and delivery efforts, as well as limit the risk of spreading the virus to both our staff and our community.

Public health experts attest that a key component to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to avoid large gatherings, especially those that include vulnerable populations. For this reason, we will also cease our outreach and nutrition education events until further notice.

These are not decisions we made lightly and we hope that our proactive determination to suspend volunteer and outreach events will ultimately help the overall well-being of our shared community. We are committed to meeting the needs of our community to the very best of our ability and stand ready to assist our city’s shelters, schools, nonprofits, and other front-line partners in minimizing the impact of this crisis.

We will continue to monitor developments and provide additional updates to you, our DC Central Kitchen family, about how we are responding to this unfortunate global health emergency.

Yours in service,

Mike Curtin, Jr., Chief Executive Officer

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