CoBank Donates $2 Million to DC Central Kitchen to Combat Hunger and Poverty
WASHINGTON D.C. — CoBank has donated $2 million to DC Central Kitchen (DCCK), a Washington, DC-based social enterprise nonprofit that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation, while promoting a market for locally sourced, fresh produce – spending over $600,000 in 2022 with small and local farms. This contribution is the latest in a decade-long partnership that has helped DCCK dramatically increase its local farm purchases through expanded, innovative hunger-fighting partnerships with DC schools, youth programs and corner stores.
For three decades, DCCK has been operating in the basement of the Federal City Shelter in downtown Washington, DC. In 2020, DCCK began the process to build a new location to increase capacity and better meet the needs of workforce development participants, producers, volunteers and staff. The new headquarters at the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, located in the Buzzard Point neighborhood in Southwest DC, opens this month.
CoBank’s donation, which was unanimously approved by CoBank’s Board of Directors– will fund the new CoBank Volunteer Zone at the new facility. Thousands of volunteers from across the country will utilize the CoBank Volunteer Zone each year to help prepare locally-sourced produce for inclusion in meals delivered to schoolchildren, community centers and shelters. DCCK expects to increase production from 12,000 to 25,000 daily meals over the next few years, creating major revenue opportunities for local farmers and expanded community service opportunities in the fight against hunger.
Since its partnership with CoBank, DCCK’s total spend with small and local farms has totaled more than $6 million – helping both the local farmers and urban food systems thrive.
“CoBank appreciates our continued partnership with DC Central Kitchen. We are proud to support DCCK’s mission to integrate local foods and farmers to drive local solutions—growing markets for producers, training workers in new skills and reducing hunger,” said Tom Halverson, CoBank’s president and CEO.
CoBank and DCCK have had close ties for more than a decade. The late Sarah Tyree, who worked at CoBank for 15 years including as vice president of policy and public affairs, served for many years on the DCCK board of directors, including five years as board chair. “Sarah believed strongly in DCCK’s work and appreciated the intersection between its mission and the mission of the Farm Credit System,” Halverson said.
“DC Central Kitchen is a better organization today thanks to our relationship with CoBank,” said Mike Curtin, CEO of DC Central Kitchen. “Sarah was a steadfast champion for both local farmers and food insecure families. She never stopped challenging DC Central Kitchen to do more, and she never stopped asking us how she and CoBank could help us do just that. Through our work with Sarah and her CoBank colleagues, we have changed the way organizations like ours across the country address complex solutions to food insecurity.
CoBank is a cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 76,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.
DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is an iconic nonprofit and social enterprise that combats hunger and poverty through job training and job creation. Our approach provides hands-on culinary job training while creating living-wage jobs and bringing nutritious, dignified food where it is most needed in our city. We serve scratch-cooked farm-to-school meals in DC schools; deliver fresh, affordable produce to corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets; provide delicious catering; and operate fast-casual cafes that also provide on-the-job training. To learn more, visit dccentralkitchen.org or follow @dccentralkitchen on Facebook and Instagram or @dcck on Twitter.