FareStart Volunteers are a Testament to the Power of Community

April 7, 2023

Our volunteers' commitment to our mission adds action to the belief that we can create positive change in the world. In 2022, over 1,000 volunteers donated 6,500 hours of service to FareStart at an estimated value of over $162,900! 

As we celebrate National Volunteer Appreciation Month, we want to take some time to introduce you to a few FareStart volunteers who have inspired us with their commitment to our work this past year. 

First up, meet FareStart volunteer Eric (he/him) from U.S. Bank. Eric organized his team at U.S. Bank to create an astonishing 1,242 notes of hope that were added to the prepared meals that we delivered to local homeless shelters, nonprofits, and senior facilities to help uplift the people receiving them.

U.S. Bank has been partnering with FareStart for many years, and they were looking for an opportunity to volunteer together even though they are spread over most of western Washington. Teams would come together virtually and socialize while they wrote their notes of hope. 

One of Eric’s favorite parts of this project was collecting all the cards. He said, “Seeing the messages that people wrote, the feeling and heart that went into it was touching. Some people put a lot of love into their cards.” 

We are in awe of our volunteers' dedication and selflessness to FareStart. Each volunteer brings their unique skills, experiences, and perspectives to our organization, creating a diverse and dynamic community united in our shared goal of empowering individuals to achieve their full potential. 

Jon (he/him), a FareStart volunteer who works as a food writer by day, wanted to spend more time working in the kitchen, something he didn't get to do often. His time volunteering gives him a unique perspective when writing. He has been volunteering in FareStart kitchens since 2018 because it gives him the chance to work in a professional kitchen side-by-side with real chefs. Jon chooses to spend his time with FareStart because “I’m a big fan of the mission of making sure everyone in the community has access to food.” 

One of Jon’s favorite experiences was making 110 pans of lasagna for an event. He said, “I got to use a lot of cool equipment like a grater that can handle 20-pound blocks of cheese. I also enjoyed using the shrink-wrap machine, affectionately nicknamed 'Oliver.' The chef wanted to see how fast we could go. It reminded me of the iconic conveyer belt scene in the show I Love Lucy.” 

Our volunteers are the backbone of our organization, providing essential support in every aspect of our work. From preparing meals in our kitchens and gleaning at our partner farms to helping our students access jobs and supporting our fundraising efforts, our volunteers are vital to our team.

Another amazing volunteer is Tekla (she/her). Last year Tekla volunteered almost every week from April to September with our Mobile Community Market. She chooses to spend time at FareStart because she appreciates our work with local farmers to provide fresh produce to our communities. Tekla said, “Everyone should have access to fresh food, and not everyone in this country has that.”

A fond memory from the market this year was seeing the kids come after school to get produce for their families. “One child would always ask for tomatoes because his mother really loved them.” 

We know that volunteering can sometimes be challenging, especially when you consider the pandemic, but volunteers make a big difference in the lives of those we serve.

Bronwyn (she/her) learned about the mission years earlier on a visit to the FareStart Restaurant in downtown Seattle, and started volunteering to support students during the pandemic. 

“With the huge number of individuals incarcerated, we just don’t do much for them when they come out.  FareStart gives people some tools and support, a chance to go forward and be independent.” 

Bronwyn spends her time with FareStart because “It’s very heartening seeing the students go forth on their journey.” One of her favorite experiences volunteering is the first time a student told her they got a job. The student was so proud and had regained that spark inside of themselves.  

We want to express our deepest gratitude to each one of our volunteers for their dedication and hard work and to recognize the importance of their contributions to our communities.  Your efforts have helped us to transform lives, disrupt poverty, and nourish communities through food, life skills, and job training. Thank you, volunteers, for all that you do! 

If you would like to sign up for a FareStart volunteer opportunity, click here.