Since the start of COVID-19 in March 2020, the Seattle-based nonprofit FareStart has provided more than 5 million meals to Seattle-area organizations that serve youth, adults and families, many of whom are experiencing food insecurity.
FareStart provides meals to several organizations in Kent, including the Kent YMCA; King County Housing Authority sites at Birch Creek and Walnut Park; and at King County’s isolation and quarantine center at the former Econo Lodge hotel, according to an email from a FareStart spokesperson.
The meals have been distributed to over 80 nonprofit organizations and 365 sites, according to a Sept. 12 FareStart media release.
“FareStart was founded upon the idea of nourishing communities and our kitchens have served millions of meals throughout King County for three decades,” said Angela Dunleavy, chief executive officer of FareStart. “When the COVID-19 pandemic began, we doubled down on our efforts to ensure individuals and families across the region did not go hungry. We are truly thankful that these collaborations allowed us to provide more meals in support of our neighbors who were most impacted by the pandemic. As the country learns to live with COVID-19, we remain committed to serving those who lack access to nutritious food.”
In addition to organizational collaborations, the support from the Seattle community through financial donations and volunteers have contributed to FareStart’s ability to provide these meals and disrupt poverty, according to the media release.
“FareStart has been on the frontlines of the response to COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Shoko Toyama, chief development officer at Plymouth Housing in Seattle. “We are grateful to receive these meals as they have been a lifeline to our residents during this public health crisis. About 61% of Plymouth residents are 55 or older and 95% live with at least one disability and/or significant health concern. Many of them are at high risk of experiencing complications if they become infected with COVID-19. The meals delivered by FareStart not only nourish our residents, they have also reduced feelings of isolation and improved the relationships between residents and our staff.”
Financial donations also support FareStart’s job training and employment programs, which have been operating virtually throughout the pandemic, according to the media release. The job training program recently welcomed its first group of students back for in-person learning; a group of half a dozen students will be training in kitchens and production facilities, gaining on-the-job skills that support FareStart’s hunger relief and food security work.
FareStart, which started in 1992, will continue to produce meals for undernourished and food-insecure communities across the greater Seattle area. Financial donations to FareStart are welcomed and encouraged, and volunteer opportunities are also available. To donate or volunteer, visit farestart.org.