WASHINGTON, DC – The University of the District of Columbia women’s lacrosse team volunteered at the DC Central Kitchen on Friday, September 12. The team helped prepare food in the kitchen for three hours, cutting, slicing, mixing, and stirring in an effort to serve the local community.
The DC Central Kitchen prepares 5,000 meals daily, that it then distributes to homeless shelters, transitional homes, and other nonprofit organizations across the city. The organization also provides culinary job training to unemployed men and women in the city who want to break into a new career.
Many of the players on the team were impressed by DC Central Kitchen’s many programs to help DC unemployed. Team newcomer Dominique Dotson appreciated the fact that DC Central Kitchen helps the unemployed become self-sufficient.
“I found this to be a great way to give back, but also allow those who have to eat at the kitchen to not be dependent on [the food they get], but actually acquire the skills to get a job in the culinary field,” Dotson said about the job-training program at the kitchen. “I would definitely go back to help them again.”
In addition to serving the community, the team also took a lot out of the experience themselves.
“The Central Kitchen was a wonderful experience for me,” another team newcomer, Genevieve Martinez said. “As a life-long DC resident, it showed me how important it is to help your city and the people who need help. It felt good.”
In addition to helping the community, the project provided a chance for the team to bond off of the lacrosse field as they begin to prepare and build team chemistry for the program’s second season this spring.
“For our team, I think that gathering and doing activities outside practice will help us get closer and makes it easier for us to cooperate and achieve our many goals,” senior midfielder Lana Oudat [Architecture – Damascus, Syria/University of Damascus) said.
According to head coach Melynda Brown, being a college athlete is a privilege and is often taken for granted. With that in mind, she thinks this service project was a great opportunity for her team.
“I believe working at DC Central Kitchen was eye-opening and a humbling experience for our team,” Brown said.
The team hopes to continue its partnership with DC Central Kitchen in the future and plans to return to the kitchen in November.