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Karma Kitchen in Northwest D.C. serves trust and generosity

Each week, diners' donations are used to help Karma Kitchen sustain itself by paying Polo India Club for ingredients and the cooks' salary. Any surplus goes to next week's diners or special Karma projects. The host, servers, wait staff and dishwashers are volunteers.

At Karma Kitchen, no reservation is necessary. The goal is that those who come experience the need to serve others.

Volunteer Ankita Rao recalled serving two men who accidentally wandered into the kitchen recently.

"These two guys walked in, not knowing what to expect, were really hungry and were looking forward to eating some chicken and having a few beers. When I explained the concept of generosity, they decided to stay and have a meal. At the end, the guys were so happy, they started to go around the room and hug everyone. It made me feel really good that I am part of making a difference," Rao said.

The founders of Karma Kitchen hope their message of giving back is established in every city in the country, and there are talks for an establishment in Chicago. (There are no plans to open branches in Maryland and Virginia.)

"The fact that Karma Kitchen runs is a testament to the existence of goodness in our world," Desar said.

Karma Kitchen at Polo India Club is at 1736 Connecticut Ave. NW. Sunday brunch is from noon to 3 p.m. For information, visit

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