Miami, FL, March 19, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Many North Miami families face a multitude of challenges: Miami is home to one of the country’s poorest communities, located in a USDA-designated food desert where it is difficult to access fresh, healthy food. With more than 67% of residents in Miami-Dade County considered overweight or obese according to municipal data, the crucial moment to intervene and prevent a lifetime of health complications is in childhood and young adulthood.
Recognizing these health and wellness issues in Miami, and across the globe, Aramark is extending its health and wellness platform and commitment, Healthy For Life™, into underserved communities. During the company’s inaugural Global Volunteer Day on March 19, more than 75 Miami-area employees will join Branches community center in an effort to provide children and families with better access to healthy food, nutritional education and active play and physical activity spaces.
Aramark will establish a Healthy for Life™ Zone that will be a year-round hub of health and wellness education and awareness. Volunteers will create a space for outdoor nutrition education by constructing a robust community produce garden and accompanying open-air classroom. Produce from the garden will be used to enhance the weekly dinners for children in Branches programs.
In addition, more than two dozen of the elementary school children who participate in the after-school program will join Aramark volunteers to build their very own, individual planter boxes, so they can cultivate vegetables for their families. Employee volunteers will also enhance the onsite playground to encourage children to engage in active play.
“Today our employees in Miami, and around the world, are dedicating their time to improving family health and wellness,” said Mike Walsh, President, Aramark Refreshment Services. “With our world-class culinary and nutrition expertise, Aramark is uniquely positioned to provide ongoing support to families, with practical tools that will help them live healthier lives.”
“Aramark’s full commitment and dedication to our community is truly extraordinary,” said Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director of Branches. “Branches is very proud to be part of Aramark’s Global Volunteer Day and we know that their project will have a lasting impact on our organization as well as the health of this local community.”
The Aramark Healthy For Life™ community engagement program educates families on the simple steps and concepts such as finding healthy choices on a limited budget, preparing inexpensive, nutritious meals and introducing children to healthy food choices.
Global Volunteer Day is an expansion of Aramark Building Community, the company’s volunteer and philanthropic program that enriches lives by helping improve family health, prepare youth and adults for work and support individuals working their way out of poverty in Miami and in 52 cities around the world. Through Aramark Building Community, the company donates time, expertise, financial and in-kind resources to help families in need. Since 2008, in partnership with community centers around the world, more than 20,000 Aramark employees have impacted the lives of some four million families. Please join us on Facebook.
Branches was established in 1973 as the urban and social justice agency of what is now the South East District of the United Methodist Church. Up until 1999, Branches focused on grassroots organizing, advocacy and working with community members who were disadvantaged and/or experiencing social injustice. During this period, Branches focused resources in the areas of social crisis, immigration, housing, hospice care and hurricane relief, among others. Since 2000, Branches has embarked on developing and implementing programs that address the root causes of poverty and address immediate and critical needs. Today, Branches’ menu of services provides a continuum of support to community members to empower them to pursue life changing opportunities.
(NYSE: ARMK) is in the customer service business across food, facilities and uniforms, wherever people work, learn, recover, and play. United by a passion to serve, our more than 270,000 employees deliver experiences that enrich and nourish the lives of millions of people in 22 countries around the world every day. Aramark is recognized among the Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE and the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
KEYWORDS: People, Social Action & Community Engagement, Aramark, Miami, Health, Wellness, community, volunteer, Children