The Awareness Project nonprofit in Bedford is planning to move to a bigger space in Hurst, saying the needs have outgrown their space.
"We see a lot of homelessness," co-founder Ryan Martinez said. "Food insecure families are on the rise." Problems that have only increased during the pandemic.
Martinez and his co-founder, Stanley Heard II, have a big tent approach. Their non-profit aims to feed the hungry without starving the planet. They have a focus on cleaning up the environment.
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"We've got a lot of balls in the air," Martinez said. "But they're all working in a cohesive manner to solve a lot of problems. Complicated problems."
The Awareness Project's goal is zero waste; whether that's preparing food for the homeless, or 'upcycling' clothing and furniture items to sell in their Dapper Inc. thrift store.
"There's choices that you can make every day," Heard said. "It could be just simple choices we make daily that we can help the environment or give back."
Volunteers have been working to renovate a 10,000 square foot space in Hurst to accommodate a cafe, thrift store, food pantry, and classrooms where clients can learn business and cooking skills.
Heard came from a marketing background. Martinez was in disaster relief. Both quit their full-time jobs to dedicate their time to the Awareness Project.
"We're making less than we've ever made in our lives, but we're more happy when it comes to achieving our goals and dreams and helping people every single day," Martinez said. "That's the motivator."
The Awareness Project is looking for funding to complete renovations in the new space. They hope to open in the fall.