Our indoor volunteer program is still currently suspended. Sign up for email updates to hear the latest news about volunteer opportunities at DCCK.

Be A hunger fighter

Dedicated volunteers help us transform food into balanced meals for our community. Work with our kitchen staff to cut, chop, peel and prep food in our kitchen – no cooking or food service experience required!

We will resume our volunteer program in early 2023. Check back here regularly for updates!


Questions? Read our list of the most common here

Volunteer bill of rights

You have rights as a DC Central Kitchen volunteer

Community Service Information for a Legal Matter

Community Service volunteers must follow DC Central Kitchen’s intake and reporting requirements

Watch a video from our Kitchen

Learn more about DC Central Kitchen and how volunteers like you make our work possible

More Ways to make a difference

We’ll let you know when we’re in need of extra hands in the kitchen!
Make a donation to DC Central Kitchen

Volunteer FAQ

Use the online volunteer calendar to sign up for a shift. Contact our Volunteer Engagement Specialist for assistance.
None. Just a great attitude and willingness to work hard.

Volunteers must be 12 years or older.

Meal prep involves cutting vegetables, preparing salads, packaging meals, and other kitchen related tasks.

Morning Meal Prep: 35

Afternoon Meal Prep: 15 (Kitchen) and 12 (Nutrition Lab)

Evening Meal Prep: 30

Gleaning: 20

No, we offer special assignments for vegetarians and persons with allergies.
Volunteers must be able to stand for 3 hours but will not be required to lift heavy loads. Persons with back injuries are not advised to sign up for gleaning.

Safety is our number one concern. All volunteers must wear appropriate and professional attire suitable for an industrial production kitchen. Please wear closed toed shoes, sleeves and long pants. Shoes with high-grip soles are strongly recommended.

Due to health regulations, volunteers who do not follow this dress code will not be allowed to work in the Kitchen. Please remember:

  • No shorts or short skirts/dresses
  • No tights, spandex, leggings, or pajama pants
  • No tank tops or sleeveless shirts/dresses
  • No shirts with exposed midriff (front or back)
  • No open toed sandals or shoes
  • No clothing with printed crude or offensive words or images
  • No loose jewelry such as watches, bracelets, dangling earrings, and rings
  • No high heels

We rely heavily on the hard work of volunteers in order to effectively serve our community. If you schedule a volunteer shift and DO NOT show up, DC Central Kitchen cannot serve the community to the best of our ability.

All registered volunteers, including groups, must confirm their shift one week prior to the scheduled volunteer date. Registered volunteers will receive an email one week before their shift with confirmation instructions.

Unconfirmed shifts will be cancelled 3 days prior to the scheduled shift in order to ensure DC Central Kitchen has enough volunteers to support our meal production.

Lunch is provided at the end of the morning shift on weekdays only.

No on-site parking is available at DC Central Kitchen’s 2nd Street location. Limited parking is available in lots at Union Station, on E Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets NW, and on the street. There is metered parking along E Street NW, 1st Street NW and New Jersey Avenue NW, all within a block of the Kitchen.

Street parking is available at The Nutrition Lab (2625 Evarts St. NE)

Yes, each volunteer must sign an electronic waiver upon arrival. Volunteers under the age of 18 must provide a parent/guardian’s name on the waiver.

Volunteer Bill of Rights

All volunteers have the right to:

  • Work in a safe environment
  • Be treated with respect by all staff members
  • Be engaged in meaningful work and be actively included regardless of any physical limitations
  • Be told what impact your work made in the community
  • Ask any staff member questions about our work
  • Provide feedback about your experience
  • Receive a copy of our financial information or annual report upon request.

Community Service

DC Central Kitchen provides opportunities for volunteers to complete service hours related to a legal matter during our regularly scheduled volunteer shifts. Candidates participating in this service for DCCK are prohibited from enrolling in our community service program if they have the following charges or convictions: assault, sexual assault, weapons charge, unlawful entry, destruction of property or disorderly conduct.

Community Service volunteers must follow the following intake and reporting requirements: You must call or email our Volunteer Engagement Specialist (202-601- 7314 or to schedule a face-to face meeting. At the meeting, you will learn about expectations and regulations, and agree to a set schedule for service dates and times. Community Service volunteers cannot register for shifts using our online registration system. Any shifts scheduled through the online system or without a prior interview with the program coordinator will not be verified.

During your introductory meeting, you will receive a time sheet that will be signed by the Volunteer Coordinator or an evening Manager on Duty, for each shift that you work. You will be responsible for obtaining this signature each time a scheduled shift ends.Your first volunteer shift must be on a Monday or Thursday morning from 8:45 am – 12 noon.  After that, available shifts are from 8:45 am – 12 noon, Monday – Friday; from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm, Monday – Wednesday – Friday; and 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm, Monday – Friday, depending on capacity and available space. Community service for a legal matter is prohibited on the weekend.

Community Service volunteers can only work at the DCCK main facility (425 2nd Street, NW). We can accept no more than 10 court-ordered volunteers at a time. We also cannot guarantee that volunteers will be able to work their first-choice shifts.

Once you complete your required hours, you must turn in your time sheet to the Volunteer Program Coordinator. You will receive a letter of completion and a confirmation of the number of hours completed.Your service opportunity can be terminated at any time for failure to abide by DC Central Kitchen’s regulations. Grounds for discontinuation of service include but are not limited to displaying a disruptive behavior or attitude; failing to adhere to DCCK’s dress code; or failing to show up for assigned shifts on time.

A Video From Our Kitchen