Continuing the Holiday Spirit

I’m usually a big fan of Christmas because it’s a holiday that needs to be celebrated year round. Being generous and kind isn’t just for the holidays and being present for others is something that I want to continually work on. I decided last year to not give up anything for Lent (I’m a non practicing Catholic that believes that I can be more spiritual/religious by acts of kindness). I used to give up meat and the Mister used to give up alcohol. Since last year was a bit rough on our mental health, we decided to do something else. My goal was to volunteer on a monthly basis at the DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) and I hit my one year mark today!

If you have never been before, you arrive to their industrial kitchen near Union Station and are welcomed by DCCK volunteer coordinator, Jessica. You go through a video explaining the work of the DCCK and the health instructions. Since I am a regular, I skip this portion of the volunteer experience after I register since I’ve gone through the training already. I get my apron and wash my hands to await my assignment. For the most part, I have worked alongside with Ms. Debbie in the cold station where we sort vegetables and a variety of lettuces to make slaws and salads. The last few times I’ve been asked to help cook for the volunteers and the students who train at DCCK as well as the maintenance crew. So that’s been exciting to use my home cooking skills to use.

I came in one day & the staff asked me to make salmon. So I started with filets this size, created the recipe & portioned the pieces.
This rack is filled with trays of salmon that I portioned and marinated.
Tray after tray of salmon!
I squeezed a lot of lemons and sliced them to put them on top. The marinade was a blend of Italian seasonings, lemon juice, salt & pepper along with olive oil.
All baked & plated into the serving dishes for everyone to eat.

All of the staff who work at DCCK have been previous trainees in their work program so they hire from within and a variety of chefs throughout the city come to DCCK to train as well as cook the food that goes out to service. They’re an amazing group of people and I have a fun time meeting the other volunteers who regularly share their time as well as the groups who come for team building or service projects.

They book rather quickly so if you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up here. What’s also important is that they have the necessary funds to support their work so if you can’t volunteer, please consider a donation.

Happy Cooking/Volunteering!

— MXM

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