DC Central Kitchen celebrates the life of our thought-partner, advocate, and friend Sarah Tyree, who passed away on December 30, 2021. While we would come to know her as a devoted volunteer and Chair of our Board, Sarah’s relationship with DC Central Kitchen started with a simple phone call more than a decade ago. After getting our CEO Mike Curtin Jr. on the phone, she introduced herself and her employer, CoBank, and asked “how can we help you do more?” That phone call started an incredibly important relationship with CoBank, a leader of the Farm Credit system, that took our promising but small efforts to purchase local farm products for school meals and transformed us into a USDA-recognized food hub that has invested $3.1 million in hard-hit local farmers during the pandemic. Numerous farmers have told us their viability and their generational land would have been in jeopardy were it not for our capacity to directly source their fresh, local items and, thanks to our array of CoBank-sponsored refrigerated vehicles, bring them to the communities in DC that needed those healthy options. Without Sarah’s initial call and steadfast leadership over the past 12 years, our ability to support local farmers on such a wide scale would not be possible.
Sarah was always happy to don a hairnet while bringing friends and colleagues down to a volunteer shift in our kitchen and took special interest in connecting young leaders from rural communities across America with the mission and ideas of DC Central Kitchen. Ever a champion for “more DC Central Kitchen,” Sarah was a tireless advocate for expanding our work in a new facility on Buzzard Point. She was excited to see the vision of our Bringing the Kitchen Home Campaign and to witness that vision begin to become a reality. When we move into the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice later this year, we know Sarah will be beaming. To learn more about Sarah’s impact, read her full obituary, or watch this video of Rep. Jim McGovern honoring Sarah’s life and work on the House floor on Tuesday, January 18.