Volunteering at the Klein Center

Join us in the CoBank Volunteer Zone for daily morning shifts starting at 9am and weekday evening shifts from 6 – 8pm. Sign up now via our online Volunteer Portal.

Be A hunger fighter

DC Central Kitchen volunteers work alongside our devoted front-line staff and Culinary Job Training students to cut, chop, peel and prep fresh produce as we prepare balanced meals for our community. Volunteer shifts are available for registration up to 3 months in advance. No cooking or food service experience required!

Volunteers must be 12 or older, and sign our General Liability and Waiver form. Those under the age of 18 are required to have a parent/legal guardian sign the waiver form.


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

More Ways to make a difference


Make a donation to DC Central Kitchen.


Visit one of our DCCK cafe locations.


Meet us at local farms to pick fresh produce for us to in our nutritious community meals.

Volunteer FAQ

Use the online volunteer portal to sign up for a shift. Contact volunteer@dccentralkitchen.org  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.

Daily Meal Prep: 30 

(Larger groups may potentially be accommodated based on need and availability. Please contact volunteer@dccentralkitchen.org for inquiries.)

Gleaning: 10-20 (Volunteer slots vary depending on farm location.)

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. There are benches located around the Volunteer Zone if breaks are needed throughout the shift. 

Persons with back injuries are not advised to sign up for gleaning shifts as that involves working outdoors with local farm partners on various physical activities.

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

Lockers are available for use during indoor volunteer shifts should any clothing or other items need to be stored throughout your shift.

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.

While lunch is not provided, we do have an on site cafe with items available for purchase located in the Main Lobby of our facility. Volunteers are asked not to bring any food related items to your registered shift. 

There is no food provided at any gleaning shift so feel free to bring water and snacks if needed. Keep in mind the gleaning shifts do not usually have lockers or secure space available for personal items

There is a Colonial Parking garage on the 2nd St side of the building, as well as metered street parking (be sure to check game day schedules, as parking in the neighborhood is restricted during home games at Nationals Park & Audi Field). The closest Metro stop is the Waterfront Station (green line).

Yes, all volunteers will be required to electronically sign the Volunteer Release and Waiver of Liability form along with the COVID-19 Vaccine Attestation form prior to any volunteer shift. 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 Director of Guest Experience (202-851-4207 or jmcintyre@dccentralkitchen.org) 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. Volunteer shifts must be done on a Monday – Friday morning from 8:45am – 12pm noon, 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 Klein Center for Jobs and Justice (2121 First St, SW). 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.