30 years of DC Central Kitchen

On January 20, 2019, we mark our 30th year
in operation. This isn’t a milestone –
it’s a jumping-off point…



Our founder, Robert Egger, launched DC Central Kitchen and within 6 months, we were delivering meals to 30 agencies. That same year we started our Culinary Job Training program.

Why bother just to pick up and deliver food when there’s this golden opportunity to train people?”

- Robert Egger
The Albuquerque Tribune,
July 7, 1989


We didn’t stop there. With the launch of Fresh Start Catering, we became job creators and an early adopter of social enterprise.

Egger’s operation has more in common with a start-up company than a traditional soup kitchen.

The Wall Street Journal,
November 29, 1999


We started The Campus Kitchens Project, which now replicates our model at 68 high school and college campuses across the country.


The recession hit, and instead of trying to wait out those challenges, we grew, earned more of our own revenue, and created more jobs by signing our first Healthy School Food contract.


We started Healthy Corners and for the first time, our social enterprise portfolio earned more than 50% of our annual budget (we’ve kept this up every year since).


Our 100th Culinary Job Training Class graduated, joining a community of over 1,800 alumni.

Today, DC Central Kitchen doesn’t just boast a wildly successful job training program, it has its hand in just about every corner of the city where food and outreach intersect.

- DCist
July 10, 2015


Last year, we prepared a total of 3.2 million meals for 76 community agencies and 15 DC schools, and we delivered 251,900 units of affordable healthy snacks and fresh produce to 71 corner stores.


More from our 30th

As National Volunteer Month comes to a close, we’re reflecting on not only the volunteers who joined us this month, but also the volunteers who have made our work possible over the last 30 years. Annually, more than 16,000 volunteers help us transform wasted food into balanced meals for our community. Some volunteers travel from… Read more »

As we look back over the last 30 years and all we have done to make DC a better place to live and work, one thing remains the same: the commitment of our amazing staff members. This month, we’re highlighting three individuals whose legacies we now honor with awards throughout the year. Dorothy Bell Among… Read more »

DCCK’s first day in operation covered by The Washington Post from January 20, 1989. Read more>> On January 20, 2019, we marked our 30th year in operation. This isn’t a milestone – it’s a jumping-off point. Throughout 2019, we’re going to take a look back at the last 30 years to share our accomplishments and… Read more »