MEMPHIS, Tenn., Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthy meals are scarce for low-income residents of downtown Memphis. In recent years, the city has been named the hunger capital of the United States and large swaths of the area are USDA-designated food deserts – areas that lack easy access to fresh, healthy, and affordable food options, but are heavily populated with convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
To help encourage residents to choose healthy, nutritious foods, ARAMARK will establish an ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) Opportunity Zone focused on health and wellness education and awareness in partnership with MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association), a non-profit social services organization celebrating 45 years of community action. 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 Memphis and in 52 cities.
This initiative will expand the partnership between MIFA and ARAMARK, and enhance the organization's existing community health and wellness programming and outreach to both elderly Memphis residents who rely on MIFA for their meals, as well as families in crisis situations.
"At ARAMARK, we believe in putting community needs first. Our passion for volunteerism and our unmatched health and wellness expertise allow us to positively impact the communities where we work," said Gary Crompton, President, ARAMARK Business Dining. "Through our partnership with MIFA, we're able to take what we do best and use it to enrich lives in the city of Memphis."
Today, ARAMARK employees will support the Emergency Services department at MIFA headquarters—creating nutrition-themed educational murals and signage, constructing display spaces for nutrition and health-related materials, and making a new play space for children of families seeking crisis assistance.
In addition, volunteers will create and decorate hundreds of holiday food and gift bags so that homebound seniors who receive Meals on Wheels can enjoy cheerful and nutritious packages in the coming months. Many MIFA clients receive their daily meals through Meals on Wheels, and to provide additional education resources at home where they are, ARAMARK will provide inserts into the meal packages with the company's Healthy for Life educational materials and tips.
"ARAMARK's collaboration with MIFA embodies our vision of uniting the community through service," said Sally Jones Heinz, MIFA Executive Director. "We welcome ARAMARK employees as they help enhance relationships with our Meals on Wheels clients and with families seeking assistance in our Emergency Services department."
MIFA serves 55,000 people across the Memphis area and serves 1,200 hot meals to homebound seniors daily. Since launching its partnership back in 2010, ARAMARK volunteers have led holiday collection efforts to create care packages for low-income families and seniors and supports their annual Feed the Soul event.
About MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association)
MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) is a leading Memphis area non-profit social service organization now celebrating 45 years of community action. MIFA currently serves 55,000 individuals annually through high-impact programs which support the independence of vulnerable seniors and families in crisis. For more information, visit http://www.mifa.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.
Contact: Mary Rucci, ARAMARK
James Seacat, MIFA Communications Director