The DC Central Kitchen’s mission to fight hunger and create jobs has kicked up a notch.
The nonprofit unveiled its new 36,000-square-foot cutting-edge headquarters Friday and launched a $35 million campaign to pay for it.
“We need to be in a place that signified the value and dignity and respect of the work we do,” said DC Central Kitchen CEO Mike Curtin Jr. “This new space is designed to bring everyone around the table.”
DC Central Kitchen staffers, volunteers and clients spent the last 30 years in the basement of the Federal City Shelter in Northwest D.C.
“This building has served us well for many years,” Curtin said. “We’ve certainly made the most of it. And this will be quite a change for us.”
The kitchen will move into the new Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice in the Buzzard Point neighborhood of D.C. next spring. Klein gave the nonprofit a $10 million gift to start the building project. So far, the kitchen has raised 83% of its $35 million goal.
Once settled, the DC Central Kitchen will boost its job training efforts by 150%, make 25,000 meals a day and host 25,000 volunteers each year.
Curtin said with this new headquarters, the kitchen will be able to help needy families and attract big donors simultaneously.
“We need to get out of this idea that nonprofit organizations have to work in conditions like shelters,” Curtin said. “We want this new building to truly be an example of what inclusive, urban, economic development can look like.”
The intention is also to be a community-gathering space, and every area has been designed to serve multiple functions.
“It’s not thought of a soup kitchen, but seen as a place where we can really change lives,” Curtin said.