COVID-19 Update

March 20, 2020

FareStart is incredibly grateful for everyone’s support during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s humbling and inspiring to see everyone rally together to help each other and our neighbors in need.

We want to continue to keep our community informed about how we’re responding to COVID-19 as we work to make sure our most vulnerable neighbors remain safe, healthy and fed. Below are updates over the past week.

Emergency Meal Production

We are continuing to work closely with government and community organizations to assess potential food needs throughout the crisis. Right now, we are ramping up to provide 15,000 meals per day – more than 600% of our usual volume. We continue to follow all CDC and Public Health mandates including social distancing in our kitchens. We are also reaching out to restaurant and foodservice workers – many who have been laid off during this crisis – to provide paid, back-up support to staff as we begin to scale up our efforts.

Job Training Programs

Earlier this week, we made the hard decision to temporarily pause our Adult Culinary Program. We are still providing students with housing, food, case management and other wraparound services. We will remain in close contact with students and bring them back when we can safely do so and provide meaningful training opportunities. Our youth programs are temporarily paused as well. Many of our graduates have been laid off due to restaurant closures. We are working to connect them to other employer partners such as grocery stores, which are actively hiring during the COVID-19 crisis. We'll also be reaching out to graduates to help provide paid back-up support as we produce more emergency meals for the community.  

Social Enterprise Businesses

Due to the statewide closure of restaurants, earlier this week we temporarily closed our cafes in South Lake Union and Beacon Hill. The FareStart Restaurant and FareStart Catering remain temporarily closed as well. Guest Chef Night is cancelled through the month of April at this time. 

National Support

Catalyst Kitchens, our national consulting and membership program, continues to work remotely with nonprofit organizations across the country as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis in their own communities. Our nonprofit members are responding in a variety of ways including shifting to emergency meals and providing essential services to vulnerable populations. 

How can you help?

Now more than ever we need to come together as a community to support one another. 

  1. Protect yourself and others and follow guidelines from the King County-Seattle Public Health.
  2. Stay informed and help dispel misinformation and discrimination associated with COVID-19. Resources here.
  3. Donate to support FareStart’s mission and to help ensure future training for our students, support for graduates, and so we can continue to provide emergency meals to the community.
  4. Support your local restaurants and cafes as you are able by purchasing gift cards or using carryout and delivery. They’re hurting and need our help. Thank you for your care and generosity to all those who are impacted by the crisis.