Food Service Organizations Springing Into Action

by Catherine Trifiletti

As the region grapples with the ripple effects of the coronavirus outbreak, local and national food service organizations are ramping up efforts to feed those in need of further support.

As we entered spring, a season symbolic of rebirth and growth, the world found itself facing a pandemic wrought with death and devastation. In addition to victims directly affected by COVID- 19, already-underserved populations have become more severely threatened. Children who rely on nourishment from school meal programs have had their nourishment cut off as traditional safety nets become overwhelmed. But through the darkness there is light—as dozens of organizations in our area and beyond have mobilized operations to address growing food insecurities. Many will use funds from Congress’ $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act as a key resource, but community support is crucial. Here’s what they are doing and how you can help.

Martha’s Table
MISSION: For 40 years, the non-profit group has provided educational programs, access to healthy food and a community store for underserved local communities.


— Educational content delivered to families through digital technologies to promote at-home learning

—A partnership with D.C. Public and Charter Schools, D.C. Health, and Capital Area Food Bank to provide students with groceries.

— Enrolled families are receiving a grocery store gift card with $15/day for the three
week period they are closed.

— Volunteer by bagging groceries and sanitizing work spaces or by helping with food preparation for nightly, hot meal distribution on McKenna’s Wagon. Donate at

S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat)

MISSION: The interfaith, community-based organization supports one in five people living below the poverty line in the District.


— The organization will continue to operate under a modified schedule (showers, clinics and clothing rooms).
— The dining room will not be operational, but individuals can pick up hot to-go breakfasts and bagged lunches.
— Drop off select items to 71 O St. NW on weekdays from 8 a.m. — 4 p.m. or on weekends from 7
a.m. — 2 p.m. Donate at

No Kid Hungry

MISSION: As the name implies, the national organization supports federal food benefits programs to minimize food insecurities among children through grants.

No Kid Hungry joins with Manna Food Center to provide school lunches food distribution throughout Montgomery, County MD to fill the void left by school closures due to the Covid-19 Global Pandemic. March 27th, 2020.COPYRIGHT REBECCA DROBIS


— Successfully urged Congress to release emergency SNAP funds for low-income families, and are continuing to push for a strong response from federal, state and local lawmakers and agencies.

— Providing emergency grants to food banks and community groups.
— Diverting resources to help the hardest hit communities.


— Donate and view map to see where and how funds are being allocated across the country.

DC Central Kitchen
MISSION: DCCK addresses hunger, food waste, unemployment and access to healthy food through its social venture model, which trains staff facing barriers to employment to prepare healthy meals for underserved populations.


— To-go meal sites for local youth at four D.C. Public Schools in Ward 7.
— Eleven mobile feeding locations with to-go breakfasts and lunches and increased meal deliveries to shelters and non-profit agencies, including an additional 450 meals per day.

Donate at


Meals on Wheels

MISSION: The federally supported program addresses the nutritional and social needs of senior citizens through meal delivery.


— The organization is using an influx of private donations ($8 million so far) and federal funding to replenish food and supplies, subsidize additional transportation and personnel costs, enable tech-based efforts to check in on isolated seniors, facilitate supply chain logistics with national vendors to help hard hit communities and support timely distribution of science-based information needed to ensure safe care for all.


— Check on volunteer opportunities in your area.
Donate at


World Central Kitchen

MISSION: Helmed by Washington-area chef José Andrés, the international organization has been on the frontlines of many natural disasters and crises over the last decade, providing meals to those in need. On a deeper level, it enacts its solutions-oriented movements to support food relief efforts and food businesses across the country.


— Delivering fresh meals.
— Putting restaurants back to work.
— Feeding healthcare workers.
Donate at


Feeding Doctors & Nurses:

Hope for Henry The cancer-fighting charity has donated more than 850 meals to caregivers at hospitals in the area.

Feed the Fight Started by Elena Tompkins on the fly, the community funded program serves dual purpose by putting local restaurants to work through donated fare for healthcare workers. So far they have delivered 4,000 meals.

Exacerbating an existing problem hunger by the numbers:

1 in 7 children in the United States live with hunger. (Source: No Kid Hungry)

22 million children in the United States rely on the free or reduced-price lunch they receive at school. (Source: No Kid Hungry)

Nearly one in five D.C. residents live at or below the poverty line
(Source: So Others Might Eat)

83% of low income, food insecure seniors
are not receiving the meals they need.
(Source: Meals on Wheels America)

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