GLENDALE, Calif., Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Like many communities in Southern California, Glendale has been hard-hit by the recession, which has created ever-increasing demands on community centers as families struggle to make ends meet and find funds to purchase healthy, nutritious food. In fact, The Salvation Army's Glendale Corps food pantry is serving 200 percent more people than it was five years ago, and this year, The Salvation Army in Southern California provided more than 182,000 individual grocery orders.
Today nearly 100 volunteers from ARAMARK, the global professional services company, will establish an ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) Opportunity Zone at The Salvation Army Glendale Corps and Community Center. This new resource will provide underserved individuals and families with healthy food and educational programs so they can learn strategies to help them improve their overall health and well-being.
This project is part of a five year relationship between ARAMARK and the Salvation Army of Southern California, which provides a broad array of social services for thousands of individuals each year. Through ARAMARK Building Community, the company's global volunteer and philanthropic program, ARAMARK strengthens local community centers and helps struggling families in the U.S. and abroad.
"Through our work with The Salvation Army over the years, hundreds of ARAMARK employees have made a difference for low-income families throughout Southern California," said Brad Drummond, President, ARAMARK Uniform Services, headquartered in Burbank, CA. "Whether we're creating safer, more vibrant community gathering places or preparing and serving a Thanksgiving meal to those in need, we are committed to this community so that residents here can lead healthy and successful lives."
"For five years ARAMARK Building Community has been making a difference at Salvation Army service centers around Southern California. When the ARAMARK volunteers gather at our Glendale Corps and Community Center today, they will once again make a profound contribution in strengthening the local community and assisting The Salvation Army's mission of Doing the Most Good," said Major Ian Robinson, Director of Development The Salvation Army/Southern California Division.
The ABC Opportunity Zone will include significant renovations to the current food pantry to make it more efficient and improve the ability of the Salvation Army to provide much needed food to the tens of thousands of people who rely on donations to help them feed their families.
"During the once-a-month senior food day, the elderly begin to stand in line as early as 6 a.m., and as many as 500 senior citizens receive bags of food over the course of the day, so it's essential that our food pantry be as efficient as possible," said Captain Rio Ray, Corps Officer at The Salvation Army Glendale Corps.
In addition, ARAMARK employees will create a vibrant physical fitness space in the gymnasium, repainting the walls with fitness themed murals, and adding shelving and storage for sports equipment. The renovated space will provide a welcoming recreation area that youth and adults can use to increase their physical fitness and improve their health.
"The majority of our resources are going directly to help people in need, which leaves us with little or nothing to improve our facilities," Ray said. "The work of ARAMARK volunteers helps us better serve the community and provide much-needed health and wellness resources."
Volunteers donated healthy-non-perishable food items to the center and throughout the year, ARAMARK culinary and nutrition experts will return to the Glendale Corps to provide nutrition education and help sort, pack and distribute healthy food packages to local residents. Company dietitians will also prepare nutrition tips and healthy recipes that people can prepare with the food they receive.
ARAMARK support of the Salvation Army of Southern California has impacted the Santa Ana Community Center, the Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center - Peco Union Neighborhood in Los Angeles, Salvation Army Santa Fe Springs Transitional Living Center in Whittier and the Salvation Army Bell Shelter in Bell.
For the last five years, ARAMARK has supported the Salvation Army of Southern California's annual Feast of Sharing Thanksgiving dinner. Each November, ARAMARK volunteers donate the food, then help prepare and serve dinners for more than 4,000 people in need in the Los Angeles area.
About The Salvation Army
For more than 125 years the Salvation Army has been delivering services and hope to the less fortunate on the streets of Los Angeles and to those in shelters, schools, and daycare centers across the Southland. Last year alone, The Salvation Army in Southern California served more than 1 million meals to the hungry, provided more than 200,000 nights of lodging, and distributed more than 70,000 toys to deserving children at Christmas. Internationally, the Salvation Army is an organization with a lineage of public service that dates back to 1865, and has evolved over the decades into a social service provider with an unmatched scope and breadth. The Salvation Army currently has representation in 126 different countries worldwide, in addition to nearly 8,000 centers of operation across the United States.
About ARAMARK Building Community
ARAMARK Building Community enriches the lives of families in need by supporting local community centers to help people of all generations learn, earn and thrive. ARAMARK recognizes the important role community centers play in addressing the comprehensive needs of individuals and families and is providing a range of resources including grants, volunteers and in-kind contributions. Since 2008, ARAMARK has invested more than $7 million in volunteer expertise, cash and in-kind resources to strengthen the capacity of local community centers, involving 15,000 ARAMARK volunteers through over 500 volunteer activities. Nearly 3 million individuals and families served by community centers have been aided by the program through workforce training and job placement; nutrition education and awareness programs; access to food and clothing; and by having a safer place to learn and thrive. Visit ARAMARK for more information. Please join us on Facebook.
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/aramark.
Contact: Mary Rucci, ARAMARK