Knife Skills to Life Skills

Last night, our good friends treated us to celebratory dinner at an unusual and unique restaurant in Seattle, Washington called FareStart.

According to Maimonides, a twelfth century Jewish philosopher, the highest level of giving is when we give another person some money, a loan, or our  time, or whatever else it takes to help that individual become self-reliant.

I kept thinking that last night when my husband and I enjoyed our delicious three course dinner at this lovely place. Fare Start is actually a job training and placement program that helps train homeless and disadvantaged individuals for the food service industry. Over the past 18 years, they have provided opportunities to transform the lives of more than 3,500 people.

We were lucky enough to be at one of their weekly guest chef dinners.  Each Thursday, a well-known local chef comes for the evening and helps create a menu and provides the opportunity for the students to serve a three course gourmet meal under their tutelage. Last night, there was also a crew of volunteers from Boeing who were acting as servers for the evening. There was so much good will all night long that it was hard not to feel excited and inspired. Our volunteer server had never been to FareStart before and loved working with his Boeing colleagues that evening waiting on the customers. The guest chef had also donated the food for the evening so that 100% of all the proceeds from the meals served went back into the program. The highlight of the evening was the celebration of two graduates of the program who had completed the 16-week course. One of whom had already landed a job.

I was so fired up by the evening, that I am eager to find out if my own city has a program like this and – If not, why not? This program is a role model for communities to provide a job training program that helps individuals become self sustainable in a way that allows them dignity and respect. It’s an opportunity that allows both the recipient and the giver to benefit with meaningful and delicious results. Next time you are in Seattle, plan to dine at FareStart!

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