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Building Trust and Community: DCCK Beats the Streets This Summer

Simone Trent

In an effort to strengthen community ties and promote safety in our neighborhoods over the summer, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) hosts its annual Beat the Streets (BTS) festivals across the city. DC Central Kitchen is proud to join the MPD once again this summer along with other community activists, violence interrupters and social agencies.  

This traveling community festival, complete with local Go-Go bands, artists, and resource partners, not only provides enjoyable programming for community members, but also shines a light on food insecurity and other disparities in low-income neighborhoods and provides an opportunity for community members to connect with the police department.  

“DCCK has worked tirelessly to combat disparities in low-income neighborhoods by providing nutritious meals and job training opportunities to vulnerable individuals. Our participation in this event was not only a display of support but also an opportunity to shed light on our transformative programs and services,” says DCCK Community Development & Partnerships (CDP) Manager, Dana Simpson. 

 Last week, the DCCK summer interns and culinary job training students joined the CDP team at a Beat the Streets event in Ward 5. To engage with the community, our students and interns distributed resources and information about our Healthy Corners and Culinary Job Training programs.   

“Our mission extends far beyond simply feeding people. We prioritize reaching marginalized communities and equipping individuals with the skills they need to succeed. By attending events such as BTS, we connect with DC residents who might benefit from our programs. Whether it is partnering with shelters or empowering individuals who have faced incarceration, we aim to address the root causes of violence, like poverty, hunger, and lack of opportunities,” says DCCK CDP Manager, Dana Simpson. 

Since 2013, MPD’s partnership with Beat the Streets has created a significant impact – the program has already served thousands of residents in low-income neighborhoods across DC. By addressing the root causes of violence, programs like BTS can help create long-term solutions to community harm and build trust between different groups. This trust is crucial for effective communication between community members, law enforcement, and social service agencies. Additionally, BTS works hard to find alternative pathways away from violence by connecting them with resources, programs, and services. One such program is DCCK’s Culinary Job Training program, which provides culinary arts education, career readiness training, and real-world internships for adults who have experienced barriers to employment, as well as young adults ages 18-24 who are not in school or working.  

It’s amazing what can happen when we all work together, right?  If you are inspired by Beat the Streets’ community impact and wish to contribute toward positive change, you can join our Community Development & Partnerships team on August 3rd at 9th Street NW &Taylor Street NW and on August 30th at The Wharf’s Transit Pier.