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DC Central Kitchen

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DC Central Kitchen
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DC Central Kitchen (DCCK) is an iconic nonprofit organization and social enterprise founded in 1989 to combat hunger and poverty through job training and creation. Every year, hundreds of individuals who have faced barriers to employment, including re-entering citizens, people in recovery, and Opportunity Youth, enroll in the organization’s Culinary Job Training program, a 14-week program accredited by the American Culinary Federation, that provides fundamental culinary and robust life skills. DC Central Kitchen has a very high success rate and has won multiple awards for its efforts over the past three decades, including the Top National Award for Healthy School Innovation and two White House Champion of Change awards.

The challenge:

DC Central Kitchen recently moved to the Michael R. Klein Center for Jobs and Justice, a larger facility to accommodate its personnel and volunteers, as its previous building was overcrowded; spaces were constantly double booked, and modern technology was needed to run the organization successfully. To serve the community even further and increase the number of organizations they could support, DCCK needed larger spaces and better solutions to support their needs.

The solution:

For the new 36,000-square-foot facility, DC Central Kitchen teamed up with technology integrator One Source Systems to select a control system for this project. With their knowledge of the organization, One Source Systems were delighted to work with DCCK and turned to Crestron technology to help support the multiple elements the space would demand. It was important for DCCK that the technology was easy to use and reliable, as many volunteers use the facility.

The technology:

DCCK serves 19 DC area schools, providing locally sourced ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. With a mission focused on culinary efforts and giving back, DCCK has a uniquely designed space featuring both state-of-the-art kitchens and collaboration spaces to support planning for community impact. Two kitchens can be found with experienced workers prepping meals and training volunteers. The second floor is comprised of workstations and conference rooms, allowing for increased participation among staff, volunteers, and students.

The Klein Center features a blend of function and design that caters to the organization’s needs and equips the staff to be successful. There is a fast-casual cafe run by graduates of the DCCK culinary program that includes speakers and digital menu boards managed by a Crestron system to ensure all items are clearly seen for purchase and all orders are heard. Two video walls occupy space in The Klein Center: the first is front and center as guests walk in to showcase donors, and the other is in The Hub, which is utilized for large community engagement events and staff meals. The building also features a media studio with the ability to broadcast and stream to any audience using a Crestron backbone for support. This room requires specific scenes to be set, empowering users who are unfamiliar with the technology to be prepared and control the room with the touch of a button.

Crestron AirMedia® conferencing technology is attached to each TV onsite. There are eight rooms, including two boardrooms, volunteer rooms, and a training room where any user can walk in, plug in their laptop using HDMI® connectivity, and collaborate seamlessly with a group. DCCK uses this for live editing, where everyone can have input and see what is happening on the screen.

The rooms where volunteers prep food and help serve meals are also equipped with video conferencing, speakers, and touch screens. Being involved with schools and corner stores in the DC region, DCCK relies on videoconferencing technology to communicate with those entities about when to deliver the prepared food and fresh produce. DC Central Kitchen uses Crestron room scheduling throughout their office space to book meetings for a set amount of time. The room scheduling panels reduce double booking mishaps throughout the office by indicating when a meeting room is in use or open.

On the backend, the IT team utilizes the Crestron XiO Cloud® technology operations management platform to gather data on which rooms are occupied and used more frequently. XiO Cloud technology is also used to manage and monitor each platform remotely and ensure everything is updated. Crestron® VC-4 software-based control platform operates multiple rooms over the network from one centralized location. For One Source Systems, leveraging VC-4 streamlined the deployment by allowing a single program to be deployed across multiple rooms.

The results:

Implementing technology throughout the new building has allowed DCCK staff, students, and volunteers to make a greater impact on the communities it serves. DCCK often hires graduates of the program for full-time positions, and the larger spaces and increased presence of technology have set the organization up for success.

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