Monday, December 21, 1998


At Christmas-time, we celebrate the gift of a miracle. At the D.C. Central Kitchen, you perform a miracle with your gifts.

President Bill Clinton
December 21, 1998

Today, President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will highlight the importance of community service by volunteering their time at the D.C. Central Kitchen, a program that both distributes food and provides job training to the homeless.

Service As Civic Responsibility. To make the forces of the 21st Century work for us, not against us, we must restore an ethic of citizenship and civic responsibility through service -- not as a form of charity or an alternative to government, but as an essential part of what it means to be an American. Service unites people of all ages and all racial and ethnic backgrounds in a common mission to solve community problems and improve the lives of other Americans.

Strengthening Communities And Building Strong Futures. Today, the President and First Lady will volunteer their time at the D.C. Central Kitchen. The D.C. Central Kitchen collects surplus food from local hotels, restaurants, and government agencies and distributes meals to homeless shelters and soup kitchens across the area. In addition to preparing 3,000 meals a day, the D.C. Central Kitchen operates a job training program for homeless people that is supported by the Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development. Every day, roughly 25 to 30 homeless men and women receive job training in food service. The D.C. Central Kitchen also operates with the assistance of AmeriCorps and between 10 and 20 community and mission volunteers.

A Presidential Commitment to National Service. President Clinton has made service and volunteerism a foundation of his Administration:

The White House Briefing Room
The White House at Work Archives