DALLAS, Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Residents of downtown Dallas are facing an uphill battle in the fight against obesity. More than 32 percent of the population is considered obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and the issue is compounded by the lack of access to fresh, healthy food for low-income residents stranded in so-called food deserts.
To help fight the statistics, ARAMARK will establish an ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) Opportunity Zone to provide health and wellness awareness and education for low-income residents of Dallas in partnership with CitySquare—a social service agency that helps nearly 70,000 people across Dallas each year. This initiative expands their partnership and will build on the center's existing community health and wellness programming.
"We believe in putting community needs first. The health and wellness skills of our culinary experts, and our passion for volunteerism, allow us to positively impact the communities where we live, work and serve," said Brent Franks, COO, ARAMARK Sports, Leisure and Corrections. "We look forward to expanding our support of the Dallas community with this enhanced relationship."
At CitySquare's housing facility, CityWalk@Akard, ARAMARK volunteers will construct a rooftop garden to provide a source of fresh produce and will conduct nutrition education programs for residents throughout the year. The team will also enhance the community garden at a second location, City Square's Community Health Services center on Grand Avenue, where area residents come for medical care. At the community clinic, volunteers will build garden boxes, outdoor seating and picnic areas, and landscape a floral walkway to the clinic.
"We consider ARAMARK to be a valued partner that has been generous with its time and expertise over a number of years and in several of our key programs," said Larry James, President and CEO of CitySquare. "Every year, ARAMARK leaves us stronger, more motivated and more encouraged. We are so very grateful for this amazing company with such a huge heart for the community."
The project is part of ARAMARK Building Community, the company's volunteer and philanthropic program that enriches lives by helping people improve their health, secure jobs and move out of poverty in Dallas and in 52 cities around the world.
Throughout the year, ARAMARK employees will provide continuing education on how to cultivate, cook and prepare the produce residents will grow in the new garden beds. The education programs will enhance City Square's existing nutrition services, including the "Food on the Move" and after-school meal program that provide nutrition education and healthy food for children.
CitySquare exists to fight the root causes of poverty by partnering with those in need. Working together as a community, we feed the hungry, heal the sick, house the homeless and renew hope in the heart of our city. Celebrating our 25th year, our programs and services reach more than 70,000 Dallas residents a year. For more information, visit http://www.CitySquare.org.
About ARAMARK Building Community
ARAMARK Building Community enriches lives by helping families improve their health, secure jobs and move out of poverty. In partnership with community centers around the world, employee volunteers lend their nutrition, culinary, job readiness and facilities management expertise to ensure people can succeed. ARAMARK provides a range of resources, and since 2008 has invested more than $8 million in volunteer expertise, cash and in-kind resources to strengthen the capacity of local community centers, involving 18,000 ARAMARK volunteers through over 500 volunteer activities. Nearly 3.5 million individuals and families served by community centers in nearly 52 cities have been aided by the program. Visit ARAMARK for more information. Please join us on Facebook.
ARAMARK delivers experiences that enrich and nourish people's lives through innovative food, facility, and uniform services. Our more than 250,000 employees around the world demonstrate our corporate responsibility values every day, and we are recognized among the Most Admired Companies by Fortune and World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute. Learn more at www.aramark.com or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Mary Rucci, ARAMARK
Katherine Allen, CitySquare