FareStart is an imaginative Seattle non-profit that combats homelessness with food service training and job placement through community connections and has been around since 1992. To celebrate 20 years, on October 14 the milestone Annual “Great Food, Better Lives” Gala Auction at the Washington State Convention Center brought together donors, staff, and current FareStart trainees. This group wasn’t quite enough to pull the evening off, so A.C.E. at Seattle Pacific University students filled in the holes with an evening of dressed-to-the-nines volunteering.
Level 4 student Abdulaziz Alnassar arrived early to set up the silent auction. “I had to carry many heavy boxes such as the wine boxes and prepare the tables so they would have a great design,” said Abdulaziz. “Every time when I got exhausted I convinced myself that I have to do this, because this hard work will lead to a very beautiful purpose.”
Abdulaziz’s strong arrangements of high-end items sparked bidding between FareStart supporters as they arrived. As they wrote down their donations, “the men wore suits and the women wore fancy dresses. They looked so elegant and their faces were filled with smiles,” said Level 4 student Lisa Maeda. “Their smiles taught me that they were willing to help homeless people.” Lisa had more to do than take in the glittering night. As Abdulaziz was heading home after a night of carrying, she was ready to make things run smoothly in the ballroom.
Her assignment would have her keeping a careful eye on these elegant and smiling guests as they raised their numbers in a live auction at dinner. “My job was as a spotter. I practiced with my classmates and teachers. I was nervous to do the job. The auctioneer told me that he would support me.”
As trips, hotel stays, and dining experiences went to the most generous and competitive bidders, Lisa made sure every number was seen. “I knew that people wanted to help homeless people. Money was flying to FareStart.”
As the evening wound down and almost one million dollars was raised to help the next classes at FareStart, A.C.E. students took a group photo and reflected on the cause and their part.
“Fare Start restaurant is a unique way to help the homeless people…an easy way that everyone can get this chance.” said Abdulaziz. “There is a very famous saying that supports this idea that says “If you give a fish to poor people, he will eat for one day. But if you teach that person how to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life.”