Northwest SHARE is a Seattle-based non-profit organization with a 501 (c)(3) status (EIN 91-1918588) established for the purpose of organizing programs for the benefit of the general public in the areas of Health, Arts,Culture,Relationships and Education.
Vision: Nurture community through arts, culture, tradition, heritage and humanitarian services.
Mission: To preserve and propagate arts and culture from diverse communities through festivals, education and interactive programming.
To serve our Seattle based community, Northwest SHARE has the following goals:
- Arts and culture: Arts and cultural events are conducted throughout the year in partnership with many organizations based in Seattle such as City of Seattle, King County, Festal at Seattle Center, Northwest Folk-life, University District, Hempfest. Promote through variety of performances with various international groups. Hands on activities, art galleries, workshops, demos, interactive booths for children, families, and all age groups. All our events are free for the community
- Cultural exchanges through food: food is part of our culture and we give free vegetarian food to festival attendees
- To give marginalized people an opportunity to regain their confidence in humanity and the effectiveness of people working together to help each other
- To provide holistic education to kids and adults alike through formal K-6 classes via Synergy Learning Academy and through continuing education programs in dance, arts, languages, etc. via Manasamskriti.
- To provide emergency food assistance in greater Seattle area to homeless. Expand during Covid-19
- To implement public-welfare programs promoting vegetarian/vegan cooking, raw food diet, arts and culture, music, dance, drama, public speaking, mentoring, interpersonal relationships, arts education, etc. for empowering people with skills to enrich their personal lives.
- To promote favorable techniques of personal diet, lifestyle, gardening and agriculture, animal husbandry and other pertinent aspects those impact the survival of humanity on this planet.
- To research and make available knowledge of alternative technology for transforming industry and agriculture to depend on sustainable and renewable energy sources that does not pollute or endanger the environment.
- To demonstrate the economic viability of a green economy, i.e. an economy based on organic farming, environmental responsibility, animal protection and care, alternative energy sources, etc. by establishment of pilot projects. To this end Northwest SHARE has instituted the following projects:
1. Outdoor Festivals:
Northwest SHARE has been in the Seattle landscape for roughly two decades conducting various arts, cultural events. Northwest SHARE offered free food in many of these festivals where Festival organizers permitted free food. Following is the list of memorable arts and cultural experiences organized by Northwest share in Seattle and throughout state of Washington in partnership with organizations such as Festal, Northwest Folklife, City of Redmond, One Redmond, City of Bellevue, City of Issaquah, and Washington state parks.
1a. Diwali: Lights of India is a colorful festival that comes under the umbrella of Festal. This festival is conducted in October of every year. This festival is free for the public to experience the culture of India through performances, hands on activities, art gallery, kids activities, free vegetarian food to attendees and much more. Diwali has been successfully celebrated at Seattle Armory in the years 2017,2018, 2019.
1b. Flavors of India: The annual Flavors of India is a free outdoor festival showcasing authentic Indian arts and culture. Last year's event featured stage performances by Gina Sala, a local favorite with a national reputation, light classical singers from the Caribbean, and budding local artists. The festival portrayed Indian culture through dioramas and live demos of authentic Indian way of life and offer cuisine from various regions of India. The highlight of the event is a street parade. Over 1200 plates of free food were distributed over a 16-hour period across two days.
1c. NW folklife festival:
Under Northwest folklife take part in the following festivals and events throughout the year:
• Our Big Neighborhood
• Moving around the world: Winter
• Moving around the world: Spring
• Global play ground : Summer
• Seattle children's festival : Fall
• Northwest folklife festival : Memorial day weekend
1d. Children festivals: Interactive booths. Northwest share has interactive booths doing hands on activities like mixing your own Indian spices and take home for free, decorating cookies, making garlands, flower mandala, henna, milking cow, balancing pot on the head and walk, make your own aromatherapy oils, making Rotis, Palmistry, Ayurvedic cooking demos, herbal tea, rangoli, textile printing workshops, Indian puppetry shows and workshops, Madubani art gallery and workshop and many such activities showcasing the art, traditions, culture and heritage of incredible India. All these are free for kids and all age groups. Family friendly.
1e. Festival of compassion: This festival showcases the cause of the homeless in greater Seattle and King County area. Northwest SHARE conducted three festivals – one in 2018 and two in 2019. These festivals bridge the gaps between races, bring about a dialogue between the homeless and general population, connect donors with recipients and establish ongoing dialogue on the topic of homelessness. focus is on low-income workers in the service industry, gig-economy workers, people on street with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, foreign workers with limited English language proficiency, African American, Latino, and migrant workers, and finally individuals with disabilities. We bring international groups to perform at the compassion festival. The event is free to the public. Northwest SHARE gives a lot of importance to arts, culture, traditions, and heritage in all our festivals, events and offerings. Diverse ethnic food is a part of our culture too.
1f. VegFest 2019, Redmond, WA: The pioneering 2019 event organized by Northwest SHARE and attended by roughly 9,500 people on the eastside where we promoted healthy living through vegetarianism and veganism. Over 30 local farmers and businesses have been invited to participate and showcase their crop growth, herbal medicine, holistic living techniques. Festival was free of charge with free entry and offered free food. While some commercial vendors charged for their food, as organizers we served out over 900 plates of free hot delicious food to those with need.
1g. Seattle’s University-District Street Fair: 2005, 2006,2007,2008,2009,2010. Attended by roughly 50,000 people. Northwest SHARE showcased various arts forms and served more than 500 plates of delicious and nutritious vegetarian food to the needy.
1h. Seattle’s Freemont Fair: Date: 2013, 2014, 2015,2016, 2017, and 2018. Attended by roughly 80,000 people. Northwest SHARE showcased various arts forms and served more than 800 plates of delicious and nutritious vegetarian food to the needy.
1i Bellevue Street Fair: Date: 2014, 2015,2016, 2017, and 2018, Attended by roughly 100,000 people. Northwest SHARE showcased various arts forms and served more than 400 plates of delicious and nutritious vegetarian food to the needy.
1j. Seattle Hempfest: Date: 2004, 2005, 2006,2007,2008. Attended by roughly 150,000 people. Northwest SHARE showcased various arts forms and served more than 1000 plates of delicious and nutritious vegetarian food to the needy.
1k. My Sweet Lord Free Vegetarian Restaurant: in Seattle’s University-District was operational from years 2000 to 2015 when the focus shifted to mobile ‘meals-on-wheels’ Food Truck. This restaurant operated 5 days a week with daily food distribution ranging from 100 -200 plates based on seasonality. By moving to a Free Vegetarian Food Truck, Northwest SHARE saved over $18,000 on restaurant rental.
2. Free Vegetarian food truck:
We serve Seattle community every week via our free Vegetarian food truck which is parked in the University district to serve hot meals to the homeless during this unprecedented national emergency caused by Coronavirus. The free food truck pilot has been started in April 2018 and in its 3rd year has grown to serving roughly 200 plates being distributed four times a week. We started with the University district where several homeless people wander the streets. Based on success of the pilot over three years, we are expanding with a second food truck with service in many areas of the Puget sound. The food truck is currently exempt from food inspection as food is served out free, is prepared hot on premises, and served in a hygienic environment. Periodic safety checks are conducted to ensure safety of cooking equipment.
Northwest Share (NW Share) has been feeding people in need since 2002 in the Seattle area through its free restaurant in the University-district called My Sweet Lord (closed in April 2015). Since 2018, NW Share distributes from its Free Vegetarian Food Truck (FVFT) healthy Vegetarian and Vegan cuisine. The FVFT is certified by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), and the King County Health Department. It has a full kitchen with a steam table, a large propane stove and another four burner stove, an Indian flat bread cooker, pizza oven, a large hot hold cabinet, refrigerator, three well sink, hand wash basin, a toilet with a hand wash sink, a commercial hood with fire safety sprinklers, an electric generator, and a large propane tank inside our new ford 350 box truck. The infrastructure of the FVFT is to guarantee that the vegetarian meals are served following the health department’s rules concerning food safety. NW Share is committed to purchase only clean, quality food ingredients as well as using fresh organic vegetables from Goloka farm in Redmond, Washington. The vegetarian diet is especially suited to maintain health, vitality and mental clarity.
Presently, the FVFT has permission to park at the University Heights Community Center in the U-District, 50th and University Way. At least 180 persons come for nutritious meals on scheduled days. NW Share is seeking other places to legally park its food truck and distribute fresh meals to the public. Access to food has come down during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Although open to all, the focus is on low-income workers in the service industry, gig-economy workers, people on street with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, foreign workers with limited English language proficiency, African American, Latino, and migrant workers, and finally individuals with disabilities.
Why Vegetarian on Food Truck? Vegetarian food is eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to meat-based diets. It is wholesome and pleasing to the tongue and heart, improves digestive systems with pro-biotics, works better for immune system compromised individuals, and finally cheaper than meat, fish and egg-based diets. Vegetarian recipes from around the world are being prepared in the food truck.
Open to All
The free food truck is open to all, although we find that a lot of transitional homeless, people on street with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, foreign workers with limited English language proficiency, African American, Latino, and migrant workers benefit from our services during Covid-19 pandemic.
What if not done
If we do not serve these affected populations, they will not be able to stand on their feet and become productive citizens. They may go in a downward spiral of hopelessness and may ultimately give up trying to get back to their previous lives. They might become victims of street crime and become addicted to bad habits such as drugs, medicine abuse. They may not have enough nutrition to build up immunity to Viruses.
The current food truck schedule until the coronavirus pandemic subsides is as follows:
• Wednesday - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
• Friday - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
• Saturday - 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
• Sunday -12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
3. Alleviating Homelessness: Northwest SHARE is working on alleviating the homeless situation in Seattle through its Pioneer Village project. Many homeless are transitional homeless who would like to get work but are unable to due to the lack of lifestyle stability and lack of nutrition. NGO reports show that the number people who are living in vehicles is also increasing While the City government is working hard to provide housing to the affected audience, there is a shortage of places where the homeless can eat nutritious meals. We propose a “Food-First, Housing-First” approach and deal with other issues like substance abuse and violence later. The plan is to come up with Pioneer Villages in the greater Seattle area where land is economical. Designs for pioneer villages are already in place and conversations with City, County, and State governments have been initiated.