It has been six full months since DC Central Kitchen transitioned from the shelter basement we called home for 30 years to the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice. After years of planning, design, and construction, our vision of becoming the nation’s most ambitious community kitchen and urban food hub is now a reality. We haven’t wasted a moment bringing this kitchen to life. After our first half-year of operations in this 36,000-square-foot facility (images here), we are proud to share the major and meaningful results that that this new home allows us to deliver for our community, including:
- Serving a record number of free summer meals to food insecure DC kids this year: 90,000 healthy meals, more than double last year’s total!
- Dramatically expanding enrollment opportunities for our Culinary Job Training program. While our previous facility could accommodate four classes of approximately 20 students annually, we are already on our sixth class of up to 30 culinary students at the Klein Center, with the seventh set to begin training in late October.
- Reimagining our Culinary Job Training curriculum to make full use of our new space and maximize hands-on learning, which has immediately paid off with our 2023 culinary graduates achieving a 90% job placement rate!
- Increasing sales of healthy food at DC corner stores by 16% and growing our citywide network of Healthy Corners stores to 54 locations.
- Opening our third social enterprise cafe staffed by our culinary graduates and interns, and introducing the DCCK Cafe Club loyalty program (sign up here).
- Re-launching our beloved volunteer program with morning and evening shifts, welcoming more than 3,300 volunteers already!
- Hosting more than 120 visits by peer nonprofits, academic researchers, policymakers, K-12 foodservice practitioners, and advocates looking to learn from, adapt, and share our lessons learned.
- Earning the distinction of DC’s Best Food Nonprofit from the readers of Washington City Paper and winning two national community development awards from CAHEC and Novogradac.
- Hosting WTOP’s DMV Download for an inside tour of our new home and sharing the story of our high-impact summer meals campaign in a national media feature by Civil Eats.
- Teaming up with sustainability researchers to recover and re-use 20,000 pounds of delicious local salmon!
- Activating the nation’s largest commercial foodservice biodigester to transform all our food scraps into gray water that is seamlessly returned to our local water system.
- Hosting the first podcast interview in our Craig Newmark Studio for Zealous Communications: a sit-down interview about food security issues by our campaign co-chair José Andrés with Ambassador Susan Rice.
- Earning Four Star Charity status from Charity Navigator along with a perfect 100 score via their new evaluation system for nonprofit impact and transparency.
We take the trust our community has shown us seriously, and we look forward to sharing even more successes from our first year of results with you here at the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice.