Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Or, if you’re a typical restaurant, give someone a dish and he’ll eat that meal, but what happens after that? Especially if that person is facing tremendous hardship and doesn’t know where the next meal might come from? The admirable, innovative hybrid restaurant/job training program FareStart tackles that issue successfully each and every day with Seattle’s homeless.
Over the past 19 years, this stunning example of culinary goodness has provided opportunities for over 3,500 of the city’s disadvantaged citizens to change their lives, while delivering some four million meals to hungry adults and children in the area.
FareStart, in collaboration with the city, believes in ending homelessness versus just managing it with band-aids by developing long term solutions. While most sympathize with the issue, FareStart took a proactive stance from the beginning by developing a culinary training program offered to adults and youth at risk. The 16-week comprehensive curriculum with a foundation of emotional and social support provides them with significant culinary skills and thus an opportunity to successfully reenter the community and the food service job market with a renewed sense of confidence.
The course blends hands-on training with classroom instruction, followed up by job placement assistance, and for the younger set, there’s the Youth Barista Program also providing job training mixed with counseling on life skills to help them get back on track.
It doesn’t stop there. Day in and day out, volunteers deliver nutritious meals to shelters and childcare centers, while educating on healthy food choices. FareStart students help prepare and deliver the meals, providing them with the opportunity to utilize their new skills, while serving as shining examples to those they connect with at the shelters. It is indeed possible to transform your life and end your own personal cycle of hardship by embracing the opportunities in front of you.
FareStart generates revenue to support these projects via its businesses coupled with the generosity of others. They bring together the community in a special way, night after night, and this is the reason it is always at the top of my list whenever I am in Seattle. Food is even more delicious when you know each bite is created from inherent goodness, and when you know everything you order is contributing to changing lives.
Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime, and if you’re FareStart, teach a person to cook, and you provide them with an entirely new lease on life.