Annual celebration in Washington, D.C. raises nearly $700,000; increases awareness of hunger and its root causes impacting more than 36 million Americans
Jun. 05 /CSRwire/ - GAITHERSBURG, Md. - June 5, 2009 - During this time when 36 million Americans, including nearly 13 million children, are at risk of hunger every day, food banks and other resources are striving to meet increasing need and depend on volunteers as critical assets. Volunteerism by Sodexo employees was recognized by the Sodexo Foundation, independent charitable arm of Sodexo, Inc., yesterday, as the 2009 "Heroes of Everyday Life" were honored at a fundraising event in Washington, D.C.
The award, now in its tenth year, honors employees who are making a difference in the fight against hunger in their local communities. The eight 2009 Heroes demonstrated outstanding efforts that included creating and serving meals, conducting food collection drives, organizing fundraising events, and engaging families for holiday events in their home states of Tennessee, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Arizona.
"A spirit of service is one of Sodexo's core values and we depend on all our employees to embody this mission every day in the course of their work," said Stephen J. Brady, president of the Sodexo Foundation. "These 'Heroes of Everyday Life' have set a new standard for service by contributing to their communities and to people in need, giving of their time and talents. This is so vital for families who critically need help as our economy continues to be difficult. The Sodexo Heroes are role models for all of us."
Brady added his thanks to Sara Lee Corporation, the 2009 Hunger Champion (lead sponsor for this year's Foundation Dinner) for the company's many years of support of the work of the Sodexo Foundation. "Sara Lee Foodservice is proud to be the 2009 Hunger Champion for the Sodexo Foundation. Providing those in need with access to nutritious food truly speaks to the values and priorities we share with our valued Sodexo partners," said Tom Hayes, president, Sara Lee Foodservice. "The ‘Heroes of Everyday Life' demonstrate the power we have as individuals to make a difference. Serving as Hunger Champion allows Sara Lee to multiply that power and we are truly honored to contribute additional support."
In addition to the recognition, the Sodexo Foundation makes a $5,000 grant in the name of each Hero to the hunger-related organization of their choice. This year, in recognition of the work of the "Heroes of Everyday Life," Kellogg's has pledged money toward each of the matching grants.
The 2009 "Heroes of Everyday Life" are: Glen Berkel, Johnson City, Tenn.; Teresa Byrne, Des Plaines, Ill.; Marilyn Conley, Bellingham, Mass.; Gary Hutchinson, Leola, Pa.; Paul Paltrineri, Keene, N.H.; David Randle, Chicago, Ill.; Laurie Tutora, St. Paul, Minn.; and Mike Wojtanowski, Gilbert, Ariz., For their stories, please visit www.SodexoFoundation.org.
Eleven percent of the U.S. population suffers from food insecurity compounded by rising unemployment levels and foreclosures this year. According to a recent Feeding America survey of 160 food banks, 100 percent reported increases in demand for emergency food assistance during 2008, with percentage increases ranging between 28.6 and 37.7 percent. Yet despite this rapid increase, financial support is limited.
For nearly 15 years, Sodexo and the Sodexo Foundation have supported innovative programs to help children and families in the United States who are battling problems such as poverty, unemployment, lack of education, and food insecurity, as part of its STOP Hunger initiative. The Sodexo Foundation has provided $11 million in grants to hunger-related organizations since 1999, including those supported by the Heroes.
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com) is a leading integrated facilities management services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, with $7.7 billion (USD) in annual revenue and 120,000 employees. Sodexo serves more than ten million customers daily in corporations, health care, long term care and retirement centers, schools, college campuses, government, and remote sites. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., is a member of Sodexo Group, and funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $11 million in grants to fight hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at www.sodexoUSA.com/blog.
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