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You are a good person. You are one of the 84 million Americans who volunteer with a charity. You are part of a national donor pool that contributes nearly $200 billion to good causes every year. But you wonder: Why don’t your efforts seem to make a difference?Robert Egger asked himself this same question as he reluctantly climbed aboard a food service truck for a night of volunteering to help serve meals to the homeless. He wondered why there were still people waiting in line for soup in this day and age. Where were the drug counselors, the job trainers, and the support team to help these men and women get off the streets? Why were volunteers buying supplies from grocery stores when restaurants were throwing away unused fresh food every night? Why had politicians, citizens, and local businesses allowed charity to become an end in itself? Why wasn’t there an efficient way to solve the problem?
Robert knew there had to be a better way. In 1989, he started the D.C. Central Kitchen by collecting unused food from local restaurants, caterers, and hotels and bringing it back to a central location where hot, nutritious meals were prepared and distributed to agencies around the city. Since then, the D.C. Central Kitchen has been named one of President Bush Sr.’s Thousand Points of Light and has become one of the most respected and emulated nonprofit agencies in the world, producing and distributing more than 4,000 meals a day. Its highly successful 12-week job-training program equips former homeless transients and drug addicts with culinary and life skills to gain employment in the restaurant business.