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Blog · January 28, 2020

The Latest Addition in the Gourmondo Gives Boxed Lunch Line

As a local business, Gourmondo understands the importance of supporting and uplifting the community around us. Our goal as a local company is to support diverse causes within our community, especially those that care for youths and families in need—such as Lunchdebt.org, Big Table, and Childhaven. We are excited to continue to build on this initiative and add to our permanent line of boxes lunches that give back!

The Gourmondo Gives boxed lunch line was established in 2019 with the aim to provide continuous support to local nonprofit organizations. Now, we are thrilled to announce our fourth Giving Box in support of YouthCare! YouthCare’s work to end homelessness is a cause all of us at Gourmondo have been proud to support since 2016.

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Founded in 1974, YouthCare was one of the first shelters to serve runaway and homeless youth on the West Coast. Since then, YouthCare has opened 14 transitional housing sites across Seattle. Focused on ensuring young people are valued and empowered to achieve their potential, YouthCare offers several programs to help adolescents and young adults achieve long-term stability.

Read on to find out more about YouthCare’s services!

  • Prevention: Ensuring youths at risk of homelessness are supported and stay safely housed or return home quickly.
  • Engagement: YouthCare staff build trust with youths through outreach and provide them with basic needs, a safe place to sleep, and help plan their next steps.
  • Shelter & Housing: Building independent living skills for young people to have a stable foundation to pursue education and employment opportunities.
  • Employment: Working to prepare youths for job readiness and engage in internships and employment in the local economy.
  • Education: Individualized high school and GED programs tailored to young people working to reconnect to school and explore post-secondary opportunities.
  • Bridge Continuum: Providing specialized case management, housing, education, employment, and mental health services to young people who have experienced sexual exploitation.

From these services, including those geared toward LGBTQ+ youths, YouthCare has been able to make an incredible impact within our local community. In 2018, YouthCare assisted over 1,300 young people. More than 37,000 meals were served and YouthCare’s programs engaged with over 1,100 youth and helped 737 individuals find safety in shelter (see YouthCare’s entire impact report here).

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At Gourmondo, prioritizing our community has always been a key ingredient in our recipe for success. “We are uniquely positioned to mentor, support, and lift up youth by providing employment opportunities that directly helps these vulnerable youth,” states Founder Alissa Leinonen. She goes on to say, “this care and support provides a positive foundation for young men and women to build self-confidence and a sense of purpose, learn critical skills, be part of a supportive community, and to earn an income.”

Over four years later, we remain committed to donating weekly dinners to young adults at YouthCare facilities, providing financial support through a portion of proceeds from our boxed lunch programs, and offering job opportunities in Gourmondo’s cafés for at-risk youths that graduate from the YouthCare barista program.

Marymorgan Vegdahl-Crowell, the manager at Gourmondo’s Amelia café, has seen the positive impact first-hand that YouthCare can have. Over the years, Marymorgan has overseen numerous Gourmondo café internships for individuals that have graduated from the YouthCare barista program. A 6-week long program, each internship aims to train youths in the café trade, customer service, and ultimately prepare them to work in a service environment.

Marymorgan’s passion for the program is obvious, “it’s really incredible watching kids come in from all backgrounds and helping to prepare them for the workforce and employability.” Marymorgan’s lead barista, Todd Cole, is a graduate of the YouthCare barista program. Todd came onto the Gourmondo café team as a part-time employee initially and has grown into a full-time position over his three years with our company. Marymorgan and Todd’s experience speaks volumes for YouthCare’s impact on a young person’s life and we couldn’t be more excited to support this important cause!

Order a YouthCare box today and visit YouthCare’s website to learn more about YouthCare and how else you may contribute. We look forward to continuing to add to Gourmondo’s Giving Box line—check back for more additions coming soon!