Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Changemakers | DC Central Kitchen

This organization HAD to be my first Changemakers post!!! Out of all my volunteer experiences, I think I enjoy this one the most...and I know I’m not alone because opportunities to volunteer here go FAST. My time there was spent mostly slicin’ and dicin’ vegetables, making some sort of stew, and/or organizing and labeling the food in their fridge to prepare it for delivery. Aside from helping others, what makes it so enjoyable are the employees. They’re friendly and helpful...and they play great music :).

DC Central Kitchen states their mission is to “use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities.” They recycle 3,000 pounds of food EVERYDAY and convert it into 4,500 meals...EVERYDAY. They recycle by taking surplus food from food service businesses (restaurants, local farmers, etc.), making use of what would’ve went to waste. Each year, they provide well over a million meals to at-risk individuals. Counseling and outreach are also provided.

They also provide culinary job training to people overcoming homelessness, addictions, and incarceration. This 16-week program covers all areas of working in a professional kitchen. In 2010, 90% of participants were placed in a job. This is a major reason why I have so much respect for DCCK. They help get individuals back on their feet and give them the means to be self-sufficient. They don’t just provide food, they provide a new lease on life. Homelessness and hunger are two issues that I’m drawn to and this program is doing outstanding things to address them both.

This is just the beginning of what they do. For more info, visit their website >> http://www.dccentralkitchen.org/mission/ and if you’re in the DC area, check out their volunteering opportunities.

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