Some Thoughts After the First Week in DC

Cameron ’16 writes:

Some thoughts after our first week of service at DC Central Kitchen and Food and Friends.

After working eight shifts at DC Central Kitchen and two shifts at Food and Friends, I noticed some stark differences between their operations. First of all, location. DC Central Kitchen is located in the center of Washington, D.C., whereas Food and Friends is in almost in Silver Springs, Maryland. I feel that their location plays a role in how they operate. DC Central Kitchen prepares and serves five to ten thousand meals a day to the food insecure. In contrast, Food and Friends primarily delivers groceries and frozen meals to those who are ill and their families.

Our work at each site varied as well. At DC Central Kitchen, we were assigned tasks such as chopping food (with razor sharp knives), working with steam kettles, and assisting in the major part of food preparation. We became, for a shift, a trusted, integral part of the organization – a testament to the excellent training and supervision. However, at Food and Friends, we simply bagged groceries according to dietary guidelines. A mindless task, and the minimal effort it demanded left us all feeling under-utilized. Although Food and Friends had the luxury of a spacious facility and were certainly a need in the community, I felt that our work at DC Central Kitchen had a greater impact. Moreover, we felt appreciated, trusted, and motivated to engage in such work in the future. We worked alongside the chefs and felt we made a difference.

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