Students serve local community, one empty bowl at a time

By Noah Ashenafi, Photo/Media Editor

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Flint Hill values community service very deeply, and whether it be Special Olympics, the Week of Thankful Giving, or monthly clothing and food drives, students and faculty are always very willing and excited to help. For almost a decade now, one of the most popular community service events at school has been the DC Central Kitchen service trip which provides students with the opportunity to distribute meals in the nations first community kitchen.

Every year, Julia Cardone, Upper School Ceramics Teacher, takes a group of students to DC Central Kitchen to witness how the organization makes 5,000 healthy meals for food-insecure people in Washington. Additionally, the Empty Bowls project raises thousands of dollars for DC Central Kitchen by making clay bowls. Led by Clay Club, Empty Bowls encourages the school community to create hundreds of bowls that sell for $15, all of the proceeds going directly to DC Central Kitchen. This partnership between Empty Bowls, Clay Club, and DC Central Kitchen unites people from different walks of life in serving the people of D.C.

Founded in 1989, DC Central Kitchen was created with the goal to create a new model for tackling the problem of hunger than traditional charity organizations dedicated to hunger and homelessness in the area. What makes the organization different is its use of food as a means to mitigate systemic poverty in DC communities. Through volunteering and organizational partnerships, DC Central Kitchen transforms over 3,000 pounds of otherwise wasted food into meals that will benefit the surrounding area.

Besides being a great cause, DC Central Kitchen provides its volunteers with valuable life skills. Tracy Peterson, Upper School English Teacher, chaperoned the service trip this year, and she said that one of her favorite parts about the trip is the kitchen skills the students learn while there. According to Peterson, “DC Central Kitchen isn’t a soup kitchen; it’s a training facility that actually trains people how to work in the food industry. DC Central Kitchen doesn’t just throw money or even food at the devastating problem of hunger in our country. Instead, they train people how to work, so they can get jobs in the food service industry and break the cycle of poverty that often leads to homelessness and hunger.” By working in the kitchen hands on, “[the kids] truly begin to understand how [DC Central Kitchen] works and exactly who benefits.”

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