hero alt

Seattle’s FareStart Program Partners With Amazon to Battle Poverty

04.12.2018 by Kadie Yale

Homelessness, poverty, and hunger are social challenges that aren’t relegated to third-world countries—they exist right here in our own backyards. FareStart, a nonprofit in Seattle, addresses these issues by preparing meals for service programs and schools in addition to offering job training and practical work experience to members of the community who may struggle to find or keep jobs.

As a sponsor of FareStart, Amazon donated space to host the organization’s three new food-service venues. Each space is operated by FareStart and has been designed and branded to support its story: transform lives one person, one job, one community at a time.

To expand FareStart’s presence in Seattle, Amazon selected IA Interior Architects to design the trio of food service venues on the ground level of a 13-story commercial office building fully leased by Amazon in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Each venue is open to the public and focuses on a distinctive dining experience: a coffee shop/bistro with casual seating, a fast-casual café with three food concepts (BBQ, bowls, and salad), and a full-service restaurant with a full bar. Within these venues, FareStart offers new training environments for participants in its job-preparedness programs and even potential employment opportunities for graduates who complete the progamming.

“Most importantly the space acts as both the foundation and the catalyst for [FareStart’s] new programs, expanding their reach in the community while introducing themselves to a new neighborhood,” explained Jamie Martin, project designer at IA Interior Architects. “The design gives rise to their goals by being approachable and familiar yet memorable. For IA to have played a role in this was truly an honor.”

How to Get Involved in the Battle Against Poverty

FareStart is a real solution to some of society’s most pressing issues, including homelessness, joblessness, and hunger. The nonprofit’s model works largely because it is both a social service provider and a social enterprise that helps people and creates value for our community. Everything FareStart does is fueled by people who are willing to play a part in helping transform lives.

There are many ways designers can help support the mission of FareStart and become part of its community:

  • Donate cash, stock, or items or services
  • Dine at one of FareStart’s restaurants or cafes
  • Use the nonprofit’s catering services and venues for a memorable celebration or meeting
  • Feast at one of its weekly Guest Chef Night or other “foodie” events throughout the year
  • Volunteer—as a group or individually
  • Sponsor the nonprofit’s work

At a local level, designers can also support similar organizations that address these important issues by offering design services that will reinforce their missions and help people get back on their feet. Remember, making an impact happens one small act at a time.