The smiling faces on the side of many of D.C. Central Kitchen’s delivery trucks are now covered with red graffiti.
CEO Mike Curtin said the vandalism happened sometime early Wednesday morning in the building’s parking lot on Second and E streets in Northwest.
“I just saw one of our vans parked out front with this red spray paint on it,” Curtin said. “Then I took a look over the rest of the lot and I saw most of them had the same kind of thing.”
Someone defaced nine of the 15 trucks belonging to the organization that, for the past 21 years, has been helping ex-convicts and homeless people get back on their feet. Workers are taught culinary and life skills, and the food they prepare is delivered to 4,500 people in need every day.
So the question is, why would someone do this?
D.C. Central Kitchen estimates the damage on the trucks to be about $10,000. The organization said the estimate is high because they can’t simply paint over the graffiti. They will have to re-label all of the trucks. But they want to go ahead and fix them because of what the trucks represent to the community.
Five years ago, Dawaine Arrington was sitting in prison finishing up his 12-year sentence for weapons violation. Today the 38-year-old from Southeast is baking pumpkin cookies from scratch.
“This place gave me a whole new shining life,” said Arrington. “A whole new perspective on life.”
While the D.C. Central Kitchen raises the funds to remove graffiti, the kitchen is still open.
“It didn’t set back anything. We’re still moving forward,” Arrington said. “But it’s just unfortunate right now so it’s very upsetting.”