Prize Winner Spotlight

H2HC 2023 Prize for Innovation Winner DC Central Kitchen Serves 50 Millionth Meal

May 8, 2024

DC Central Kitchen, winner of the inaugural H2HC Prize for Innovation in 2023, reached a significant milestone in May 2024, when it served its 50 millionth meal in support of its work to fight against hunger in Washington, DC.

“We’re never going to feed our way out of hunger. It’s a harsh reality that we knew on day one in 1989 and remains evident to this day,” says DC Central Kitchen CEO Michael Curtin, Jr. “Food, when used as a tool to create pathways to opportunity and living wage jobs, not only strengthens bodies, but it empowers minds and builds communities. Behind every one of the 50 million meals we have served is a training and career opportunity that empowered someone to change their life while nourishing our city.”

Since moving into its new facility, the Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, in Southwest DC last spring, DC Central Kitchen has nearly doubled its daily meal production. It now delivers 16,500 meals each day to community partners and schools throughout the city where they are needed most. The social enterprise nonprofit works with more than 80 community partners, including shelters, recovery centers, and senior facilities, to provide prepared meals that allow those organizations to focus on core programming and other resources for their clients. Additionally, DC Central Kitchen prepares scratch-cooked breakfasts, lunches, and suppers at 30 schools citywide where many students rely on school meals.

DC Central Kitchen now employs more than 300 individuals, nearly half of whom are graduates of the organization’s iconic Culinary Job Training program for those overcoming homelessness, incarceration, trauma, and food insecurity. DC Central Kitchen has also welcomed 15,000 volunteers at its new facility.

“We are truly grateful for the 15,000 volunteers who have lent a hand at our new home and the more than 250,000 volunteers who have made our work possible over the past 35 years. Their efforts have been critical to the 50 million meals we have served since 1989,” says Curtin. “Just as important, each of those generous individuals has worked side by side with students and graduates of our Culinary Job Training program. Our city can solve any challenge when we work together, and these milestones are a powerful reminder about the importance of continuing to step up and focus on long-term solutions.”

Watch CEO Mike Curtin on Good Morning Washington as he shared this exciting milestone: