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Total Community Action, Inc. Announces New ARAMARK Partnership to Strengthen Community Health and Wellness

ARAMARK volunteers create community garden to provide access to nutritious foods in Little Woods neighborhood damaged by Hurricane Katrina

Published 11-17-11

Submitted by Aramark

/PRNewswire/ - In one of the last neighborhoods to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, Total Community Action, Inc. (TCA), which operates Head Start Centers throughout the city, today announced a new partnership with ARAMARK, the global professional services company, to strategically enhance health and wellness programs for children and families.

To kick off the partnership, ARAMARK volunteers will transform an unused, undeveloped tract of land at TCA's Little Woods Community Center site into an urban garden that will provide nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables for children and families, and will help support the transformation of the facility to a new multi-service community center.

"This is a neighborhood that is fighting hard for the community and to maintain their quality of life," said Thelma H. French, President and CEO to Total Community Action, Inc. "It is isolated at the end of the city, and is one of the last areas to recover from Hurricane Katrina. These improvements by ARAMARK will allow this neighborhood to re-establish a stable community space for family gatherings, health and wellness programs, and organized recreation for years to come."

ARAMARK employees, along with volunteers from TCA and the local community, will create the urban garden that will be central to a series of health and wellness programs that ARAMARK culinary and nutrition professionals will help support. This partnership is part of ARAMARK Building Community (ABC), the company's signature philanthropic and volunteer program, which enriches the lives of families by strengthening local community centers.

"There is no question that this neighborhood is in dire need of the programs and services Total Community Action center provides and we're proud to be able to support their work in so many ways," said John Hanner, Executive Vice President ARAMARK Education, and local ARAMARK Building Community sponsor. "Through our involvement in the Recovery School District, we provide healthy and nutritious meals to children from this community during the school day. This partnership will allow us to contribute to the health and wellness of children, their families and this community during out-of-school hours as well."

The urban garden will be maintained by center clients and the community. Volunteers will use produce from the garden to help teach healthy cooking skills as part of the center's Step Together New Orleans nutrition education programs for parents in the neighborhood. This program was developed in partnership with the Louisiana Public Health Institute and City of New Orleans Health Department to implement prevention efforts focused at reducing occurrences of obesity, as well as asthma and diabetes.

In addition to creating the urban garden, volunteers will rehabilitate a baseball field and basketball courts damaged by Hurricane Katrina and enhance the community recreational spaces for physical activity.

"This community is populated in great part by vulnerable populations," said French. "They face health risks and barriers to care. Rates for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension are high, and the lack of good recreational programming increases the incidence of chronic illnesses in children."

French also noted that the poverty rate for the neighborhood is 18.2%, higher than both the state and national averages.

Through ARAMARK Building Community, the company develops long-term partnerships to strengthen community centers and the important role they play in strengthening communities and families. The company provides a range of resources including grants, volunteers and in-kind contributions to help improve facilities, prepare youth and adults for careers and connect them to the workforce, and encourage healthy lifestyles through health and wellness education and awareness. ARAMARK Building Community is in more than 50 cities impacting more than 2.5 million individuals and families in the U.S. and abroad. Visit ARAMARK Building Community on Facebook.

About Total Community Action

Total Community Action, Inc. (TCA) is a non-profit community-based agency, dedicated to serving the needs of the disadvantaged. Founded in 1964, TCA has worked with families to overcome social and economic conditions that perpetuate poverty. Services provided by TCA address the needs of the poor and near-poor by providing direct assistance, as well as the opportunity for people to better help themselves. Services provided by TCA include: early childhood development (Head Start); energy conservation services; commodity distribution; case management; workforce and job development; financial education; asset development; advocacy and community engagement; neighborhood service centers and a variety of partnerships and linkages.

About ARAMARK

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company's website, www.aramark.com, or www.twitter.com/aramarknews.

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Aramark

Aramark

ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, parks and destinations and businesses around the world.

 

The company is recognized as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the "World's Most Admired Companies" by FORTUNE magazine and one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines.

 

ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 250,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at www.twitter.com/aramarknews.

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