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DC Central Kitchen Dishes Up 50 Millionth Meal 

DC Central Kitchen
Volunteers in the CoBank Volunteer Zone fill trays for meals

50 million meals served in the fight against hunger. It’s a milestone Washington, DC-based DC Central Kitchen marked earlier this week in the nonprofit’s storied 35-year history.  

“We’re never going to feed our way out of hunger. It’s a harsh reality that we knew on day one in 1989 and remains evident to this day,” says DC Central Kitchen CEO Michael Curtin, Jr. “Food, when used as a tool to create pathways to opportunity and living wage jobs, not only strengthens bodies, but it empowers minds and builds communities. Behind every one of the 50 million meals we have served is a training and career opportunity that empowered someone to change their life while nourishing our city.” 

Since moving into its new facility, the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, in Southwest DC last spring, DC Central Kitchen has nearly doubled its daily meal production. It now delivers 16,500 meals each day to community partners and schools throughout the city where they are needed most. The social enterprise nonprofit works with more than 80 community partners, including shelters, recovery centers, and senior facilities, to provide prepared meals that allow those organizations to focus on core programming and other resources for their clients. Additionally, DC Central Kitchen prepares scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and suppers at 30 schools citywide where many students rely on school meals. 

DC Central Kitchen now employs more than 300 individuals, nearly half of whom are graduates of the organization’s iconic Culinary Job Training program for those overcoming homelessness, incarceration, trauma, and food insecurity. But they don’t do the work alone! Volunteers have played a large role in reaching this milestone. DC Central Kitchen has welcomed 15,000 volunteers at its new facility since restarting the volunteer program in April 2023, which had been largely paused since the onset of the pandemic. 

“We are truly grateful for the 15,000 volunteers who have lent a hand at our new home and the more than 250,000 volunteers who have made our work possible over the past 35 years. Their efforts have been critical to the 50 million meals we have served since 1989,” says Curtin. “Just as important, each of those generous individuals has worked side by side with students and graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. Our city can solve any challenge when we work together, and these milestones are a powerful reminder about the importance of continuing to step up and focus on long-term solutions.” 


DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is an iconic nonprofit and social enterprise that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. Our approach provides hands-on culinary job training while creating living-wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed in our city. We serve scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in DC schools; deliver fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets; provide delicious catering; and operate fast-casual cafes that also provide on-the-job training. DCCK has been featured in national media including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, PBS NewsHour, Civil Eats, and more. To learn more, visit dccentralkitchen.org or follow @dccentralkitchen on Instagram and @dcck on Twitter.