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Blog · April 29, 2020

Lending a Hand for Seattle’s Youth

Lending a Hand for Seattle’s Youth

In response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic many public and private entities have been presented with an uncertain future, and a new set of challenges. Organizations like YouthCare are flooded with greater activity and more strain than usual and, due to school closure and program cancellation, the local nonprofit is now providing care for 112 youths, 24/7. YouthCare’s locations around Seattle provide safe beds and warm meals to youth who are experiencing homelessness. Gourmondo CEO Alissa Leinonen has been a longtime supporter of YouthCare through job placement and donation programs and, seeing an opportunity to provide relief, Alissa partnered with 17 other local women business leaders to deliver 1,000 meals for those youth in need.

Youthcare began as a crowd sourced three-bed shelter for homeless and runaway youth in 1974. With the central goal of eradicating youth homelessness in Washington state, they began to gradually expand. In 2011 they received the Seattle Human Rights award followed by a sizable grant from Paul G. Allen in 2016 which allowed the foundation to double its capacity for beds available to minors. The total capacity of all the facilities combined now sits at nearly 1,500 individuals.

Gourmondo, a longstanding partner of YouthCare provides support to each of the key areas that are identified by the organization as approaches to ending youth homelessness: prevention, engagement, shelter, employment, and education. On her involvement with YouthCare throughout her career, especially in the internship program, Leinonen was quoted as saying: “It’s amazing what YouthCare is doing to lift these kids up – providing the education and job training they desperately need to enter into the workforce and have promising futures.” Thus, when it came time to support those who are always supporting others, she knew exactly where to turn.

This unique group of entrepreneurial women has shared a common bond throughout their careers. Achieving renowned success, they all also place a large emphasis on giving back to the community in whatever way that they can. One of Leinonen’s colleagues, Shauna Swerland of Fuel Talent was quoted as saying: “From the moment Alissa shared Gourmondo’s plan to deliver meals to YouthCare, I knew I wanted our team at Fuel Talent to help. I also knew that if I reached out to other female business leaders, it would take just hours to hear back from them with a yes.” Shauna could not have been more correct, the group quickly banded together to provide gourmet meals with personalized notes of encouragement to those currently in the YouthCare program.

Alissa summed up the effort by stating: “I have had the privilege of watching first-hand how some of these youth have grown and found success, and I am proud to work with them.” Here is the complete list of those who donated to this cause and helped Gourmondo feed those in need during these trying times:

  • Gourmondo Co., Alissa Leinonen
  • Fuel Talent, Shauna Swerland
  • Barre3 Capitol Hill & Roosevelt, Mary Lytle
  • La Ree Boutique & Gin and the Banker, Rachel Nov
  • TomBoyX, Fran Dunaway
  • DRY Soda, Sharelle Klaus
  • MOD Pizza, Ally Svenson
  • Seattle Chocolate, Jean Thompson
  • ParentMap, Alayne Sulkin
  • Dunn & Hobbes, Liz Dunn
  • Filter Digital, Kristin Knight
  • BooginHead, Sari Davidson
  • Fresh Chalk, Liz Pearce
  • Armoire Style, Ambika Singh
  • Doctor Rogers/Modern Dermatology, Heather Rogers
  • Goodbye Crop Top, Wendy Euler
  • Denice Schwind, Pur Skin Clinic
  • Jody Hall, Cupcake Royale

Interested in donating meals to feed our youth? Email or click here to provide a monetary donation directly to YouthCare!