An Update from FareStart
Dear FareStart Community,
Today, we announced that we are scaling back our workforce by 20% and saying goodbye to dedicated members of our team in the process. The majority of impacted staff members were part of our prepared meals team, an area of our work that has been reduced as pandemic-related emergency funding has declined.
This was an extremely difficult decision that we were saddened to make, and one that wouldn’t have been made unless we felt it was absolutely necessary to ensure FareStart retains its financial stability after a hard-hitting pandemic and ongoing impacts from inflation.
During this time, we are doing everything possible to take care of our people, including those impacted. There is no perfect way to do this, but some of the ways we are supporting those in transition include severance pay, earned time off payouts, and career support to help them find their next role. We also hope the people leaving FareStart will consider coming back later as we rebuild to create a bigger impact in the future.
We can’t emphasize enough how grateful we are to our impacted colleagues for their time at FareStart and the great contributions they made during an unprecedented period of uncertainty and instability in our community. Collectively, we’ve proudly produced nearly six million meals for our community while supporting our students in a time of a historic crisis.
As we look to the future and reset, we are steadfast in our mission and our work remains vitally important:
- We are still providing job training and placement to hundreds of adults and young people this year who are experiencing barriers to employment.
- We continue to feed food-insecure communities and are on track to prepare the same number of meals we produced pre-pandemic (about 900,000 meals annually).
We are also working to launch and reimagine our social enterprise businesses. Our businesses serve as classrooms for our students as we prepare them for the jobs of the future and enable us to fund our mission more sustainably.
- Adult students returned to onsite training last July to support our continuing prepared meals program.
- Earlier this year, job training resumed for youth at the FareStart Café in South Lake Union.
- We recently reopened the FareStart Restaurant to host private events. In the coming months, we plan to add more social enterprise activities in this space that incorporates job training for students.
- We will also explore and pilot other food-based social enterprises to support training and provide pathways out of poverty for our students.
We look forward to keeping our community informed on our progress as we work tirelessly to stabilize, transform more lives and disrupt poverty in our communities.
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