D.C. Culinary Job Training Program Celebrates 100th Graduate
D.C. Central Kitchen has had a big 2015! The culinary job-training program celebrates its 25th year in operation and also saw the 100th graduate of the program, walk across the stage.
D.C. Central Kitchen works with what they call “ugly produce”. Ugly produce is basically produce that is purchased second or third hand from supermarket chains, suppliers, and farms. The produce is perfectly edible and fresh, but sports minor cosmetic damage, like bruising or minor bumps. This type of produce is deemed too “ugly” to be sold to consumers so D.C. Central Kitchen purchases the produce and turns it into delicious food. By doing this, D.C. Central Kitchen is able to feed 1.1 million meals to children across the D.C. region, every year.
The produce is also sold to local markets and corner stores, at a discount, to under-served areas. In addition to this program, D.C. Culinary Kitchen has also educated and graduated nearly 321 former inmates, both male and female. While this is a wonderful social program, D.C. Culinary Kitchen also boasts a smaller percentage of reoffenders than the national average: the rate of re-offense nationally is 45 percent to 68 percent while the rate of re-offense for graduates of D.C. Culinary Kitchen is only 2 percent. D.C. Culinary Kitchen graduates have earned an astounding $8.5 million in wages while the costs of the program remain low: $2.2 million since the program was founded in 1989.
D.C. Central Kitchen is just one of the sixty other kitchens in the United States that offer culinary training programs while also providing meals and food to local communities. It is completely non-profit and relies heavily on local support and public donations to keep the program going. If you’re curious about the program or would like to donate, visit the D.C. Central Kitchen website!
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