Kitchen of Purpose (La Cocina VA)

EIN: 46-2037695

Mission Statement

Kitchen of Purpose uses the power of food to change lives. An agent for socio-economic change, the Kitchen of Purpose generates workforce and entrepreneurship development and provides healthy food assistance in the D.C. metro area. Together, the Kitchen of Purpose community–staff, students, entrepreneurs, partners, supporters– create employment, launch new food businesses, and work to end hunger. 

Creating career pathways through bilingual, vocational and technical education in underserved communities, Kitchen of Purpose is a platform for economic mobility.  Kitchen of Purpose is expanding our Workforce Development Programs, building a strong Small Business Incubator, and scaling up our FitFoods program.


Program Summary

Workforce Development Program: Culinary, Baking, and Front House
In our state-of-the-art training kitchen, community members seeking jobs with family-sustaining salaries learn the skills they need to work as qualified cooks and bakers. Front of House Training that prepares students for careers in the restaurant industry. After the 8 weeks of training, our students begin a four week  paid internship with one of our employer partners. Internships lead to permanent job offers, and our graduates earn an average $17/hour after they have completed our program that includes:

  1. Bilingual training in English and Spanish, plus English classes 
  2. Wrap around social services
  3. Financial literacy 
  4. Connection to our Small Business Incubator: We’re the only organization around that equips community members with culinary training and comprehensive entrepreneurship support. Read on to learn about our Small Business Incubator!


Kitchen to Market Small Business Incubator

With the right support, a small business can be a way to earn a family-sustaining income. Kitchen of Purpose provides the training and resources low-to-moderate income community members seek in order to launch successful businesses. Our Small Business Incubator offers:

  • Small Business Incubator Training 
  • Shared Kitchen space 
  • Stipends to support business launch
  • Mentorship with seasoned entrepreneurs
  • Coaching with finance professionals
  • A Marketplace to debut products and begin earning an income 

FitFoods 

Our FitFoods program provides prepared balanced meals to community members who experience food insecurity.

Meals to Low-Income Families
Our meals are prepared in our kitchen with fresh ingredients. Working with our partners, we alleviate food insecurity through nutritious meals without the stress and cost of preparation.

Meals to At-Risk Kids
Through our partnerships with after-school programs, Kitchen of Purpose ensures that kids receive a nutritious meal when school is not in session.

New! Family Meals
This year, Kitchen of Purpose is launching Family Meal.  Low-income families dine in the organization’s cafe at no cost.

Social Enterprise
At Kitchen of Purpose, our social enterprise advances our mission. Our cafe features a seasonal menu, we offer catering services,  our Shared Kitchen supports food entrepreneurs.


Impact Statement

Kitchen of Purpose supports low-income communities with job training for jobs in the food service industry that pay family-sustaining salaries at no cost to participants. In 2023, Kitchen of Purpose achieved an 85% job placement rate, placing students in positions with $17/hr average wage. The result was that students received a 39% average wage increase post-training, and women received a 57% average wage increase.


Kitchen of Purposes empowers diverse entrepreneurs. Aspiring entrepreneurs seek Kitchen of Purpose’s support as they strike out on their own, having worked for years in the food service industry. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds face barriers to entry, such as knowledge about business requirements, access to infrastructure, and access to capital.

Kitchen of Purpose works for the health of our community through FitFoods, providing prepared meals with fresh ingredients and alleviating hunger. Since 2015, Kitchen of Purpose prepared and delivered has prepared and delivered 50,000 healthy meals for the Northern Virginians experiencing food insecurity.


What ways can the public get involved?

We invite the community to change lives through the power of food! Opportunities to get involved include:

Mentorship and Coaching: Business professionals with financial expertise and small business experience provide essential support to our entrepreneurs. Volunteers share their experience with clients in our Small Business Incubator as they start or expand their small food businesses.

Skill Share: Kitchen of Purpose invites those with expertise in technology, social media, marketing, and communications to share their skills with Kitchen of Purpose and help us advance our mission.Preparing Healthy Meals: We invite corporate and other groups to a team building activity that also transforms food into healthy meals as part of Kitchen of Purpose’s Food Assistance Program.


How are charitable dollars spent? Where does my donation go?

$100 gifts a knife kit to 1 Culinary Training student 

$250 provides 30 meals for at-risk youth

$500 feeds 10 Families with prepared meals in our FitFoods program

$1000 provides seed capital for 1 Small Business Incubator graduate

Information provided March 2024