DC Central Kitchen:
Not Your Mama's Soup Kitchen



Photo courtesy of Carla Hall

Photo courtesy of Carla Hall

Carla Hall’s culinary talents and sparkling smile have made her a household name. But for all her blessings, Carla never forgets that there are households struggling to put meals on the table. That’s why she supports DC Central Kitchen.

First encountering DCCK in 1995 as a culinary school student, Carla has maintained a special relationship with the organization, serving on the board of directors, participating in the Capital Food Fight fundraiser, and promoting DC Central Kitchen as one of the hosts of ABC’s The Chew.

It is not, said partnerships and planning coordinator Katherine Eklund, a typical soup kitchen. DC Central Kitchen serve about 80 social services agencies every day, providing 5,000 meals to help the agencies focus on moving their clients forward.

“Our goal isn’t just to keep feeding people meals,” Katherine said. “Our goal is to ensure people don’t need those meals.”

A graduate of the DC Central Kitchen job training program tells his story. Courtesy of WJLA TV 

Of DCCK’s many valuable programs, one that sticks out in Carla’s mind is the Culinary Job Training program, which trains unemployed and underemployed, homeless and previously incarcerated adults for careers in the food service industry.

“It’s something we take for granted,” Carla said, “having a work ethic. There is nothing more life changing than seeing somebody (at training graduation) being able to show his family, “I’ve changed. I’m going through a metamorphosis.”

Many of the Job Training graduates stay on as volunteers. Carla recalls one woman who had a perpetual smile.

“She didn’t have the greatest teeth, but she smiled. She was a beacon of light. Whenever you went there, her answer was ‘yes, how can I help’ you can have absolutely nothing, but when you have a smile to give people, it changes people. It changes the people who are coming through the doors. You can change people with a smile and a positive attitude.”


Want to know Carla Hall's celebrity crush? And what her Thanksgiving dessert of choice would be? Check out our Outtakes with Carla Hall!