A Charity That Fights Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness

FareStart helps the needy train for and secure stable food-industry jobs. It also provides millions of emergency meals.

FareStart tackles poverty, hunger, and homelessness by providing programs that give individuals the skills required to succeed in the food-service industry. FareStart began in 1992 as a local nonprofit aimed at helping Seattle’s homeless residents. In 2011, its mission expanded across the U.S. through the Catalyst Kitchens initiative. 

Individuals as young as 16 are eligible for FareStart assistance and training through its youth and young adult barista program and youth culinary program. The programs provide eight weeks of training with a daily stipend and offer interview coaching and job counseling, plus 10 months of ongoing support. FareStart’s adult culinary and food service apprentice curriculum provides wages, financial counseling, and other services that help graduates secure stable employment.

COVID-19 devastated the restaurant industry, but FareStart quickly focused its resources, working with organizations across Seattle to provide over two million emergency meals to families in need. It coordinated with its national Catalyst Kitchen network to guide partner organizations through similar initiatives, resulting in over 800,000 emergency meals distributed every week across 24 states. FareStart has also created virtual job programs in place of in-person learning and has helped its graduates connect with companies that never stopped hiring during the pandemic, such as grocery stores and bakeries.

BJT readers—who represent one of the highest-net-worth magazine audiences anywhere—clearly have the means to contribute to a better world. To help you do that, we regularly spotlight deserving organizations that received a four-star overall rating from Charity Navigator, which evaluates philanthropic institutions based on their finances, accountability, and transparency.