While the organization had its share of challenges along the way, it has worked with entities all over the country to set up similar models in various communities.
D.C. Central Kitchen was also part of the coalition that passed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, which created a liability shield for charitable food donors. “That really freed things up nationally for people to take our model and scale. As we’ve grown, we’re now doing 5,000 meals a day made from 3,000 pounds of [surplus] food,” says Alex Moore, chief development officer at the organization. “That required us to go beyond hotel and catering leftovers and look at food waste at the wholesale level, at the farm level, and at the aggregator level. What we’re looking to do is recover thousands of servings of otherwise wasted food in a single shot, bring that back to our kitchen, and re-prepare it into a balanced meal so that every meal has a protein, a starch, and a vegetable.”
In addition to its community meals and job training, D.C. Central Kitchen has also formed social enterprise programs that allow the nonprofit to contract with organizations to provide meals and bring revenues in to support its work and pay staff a living wage.
After leading the D.C. organization for 24 years, Egger founded L.A. Kitchen in 2013. The nonprofit now occupies one-third of the 60,000-square-foot food incubator space L.A. Prep.