DC Central Kitchen is building a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous community. Our social ventures are making a tangible difference in thousands of lives today while investing in lasting systems change over time.
In the District of Columbia, 92,000 children and adults are struggling to feed themselves. In 2015, nearly 30% of DC households with children reported not having enough money to buy food. Across the nation, as many as 48 million people are food insecure.
We fight daily hunger by preparing 3 million meals each year for our community and serving them to children and adults in need through innovative partnerships with schools, homeless shelters, and nonprofits. We serve real meals, not bags of groceries or crates of canned goods. But we know that food alone won’t solve hunger in the long-run, because hunger is a symptom of poverty. That’s why we train at-riskadults for culinary careers and use each of our programs to create good jobs for people leaving hunger behind.
Healthy Food Access
Unequal access to economic opportunity and healthy food has created a public health crisis in DC’s low-income neighborhoods. With only three full-service grocery stores east of the Anacostia River in Wards 7 and 8 and nearly 200,000 DC residents living on city blocks where the closest healthy food retailer is three times farther or more than the closest fast food or convenience food store, improving access to healthy food in DC has never been more critical.
DC Central Kitchen addresses the issue of healthy food access by serving more than 1 million locally-sourced, scratch-cooked, healthy meals to low-income students at 15 DC schools annually, with a focus on DC Public Schools in Ward 7; hiring graduates of our culinary program to prepare the fresh produce and healthy snacks we deliver to 70 corner stores in DC’s food deserts; and, providing a new market for area farmers by operating DC’s only permanent food hub and using our purchasing power to bring locally-sourced, healthy food to more DC communities.
The United States wastes 40% of its food supply each year, but 48 million people struggle to put food on the table each day. DC Central Kitchen takes on the issue of food waste by using 3,000 pounds of surplus food and ugly produce to prepare 5,000 healthy meals for our community each day.
Our nutritious meals are made fresh in our kitchen by DC Central Kitchen culinary graduates delivered to approximately 80 partner nonprofits, saving them upwards of $3 million dollars in food costs each year. We scale our proven solution to food waste nationally through The Campus Kitchens Project, engaging students to recover food from their college and high school cafeterias and prepare meals for their community.
Unemployment and Poverty
Income inequality in DC has remained one of the highest among large U.S. cities for nearly a decade. The average household income of the top 5 percent of DC residents was 52 times the income of the bottom 20 percent in 2014. In the third quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate among African American DC residents was 13.6% -- more than five times the unemployment rate for white DC residents.
DC Central Kitchen targets the issues of chronic unemployment, intergenerational poverty, and recidivism with 14-week culinary job training program for at-risk men and women with histories of incarceration, addiction, homelessness, and trauma. Since the recession of 2008, DC Central Kitchen graduates have earned a 90% job placement rate in DC’s thriving hospitality industry.