DC Central Kitchen aims to prevent one million pounds of food waste

DC Central Kitchen aims to prevent one million pounds of food waste (ABC7)

Looking ahead to 2018, DC Central Kitchen has an ambitious New Year's resolution. The kitchen — which feeds the local homeless population and other Washingtonians in need — hopes to recover and repurpose one million pounds of food that otherwise might be wasted.

To pull it all off, the kitchen unveiled its new food recovery vehicle on Monday. The van will collect excess rations from restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, and other partners like the convention center, Nats Park and Capital One Center.

DC Central Kitchen chief development officer Alexander Moore said, “Nationally, the U.S. wastes 40 percent of the food we grow. And so with all of that food, there's water going into that, there's labor going into that. And then, that becomes a huge contributor to carbon dioxide emissions when we're putting that food in landfills.”

Last year, the kitchen recovered 650,000 pounds of food. The 2018 goal of collecting one million pounds of potential food waste would fuel two million meals.

“And we can recover food that's getting close to those dates on the packaging and use it in a safe and sustainable way,” Moore said.

Every meal made at DC Central Kitchen is a training tool, launching culinary careers of previously unemployed adults.

The kitchen’s new van was purchased with a $75,000 grant from the World Bank, with the bank matching employee donations dollar-for-dollar.

World Bank Group community outreach senior officer Lindsey Buss said, “Poverty is everywhere, including right here where we live. Even though we're a global institution, we also very much want to work on those issues here in D.C.”

The new van is the first all-wheel drive vehicle in the kitchen’s fleet. That's important because during D.C.’s last major snowstorm in 2016, it was the only local organization still operating distributing food to D.C. shelters.

“When blizzards hit D.C., we can prepare up to 20,000 meals in a weekend,” Moore said. “And that's because our city's homeless shelters and agencies are counting on us to make sure we can feed their clients.”

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