CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 30, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In Mecklenburg County, nearly 92,000 people live at or below the poverty level, and struggle daily to maintain their housing, and buy enough nutritious food to feed their families. Nutrition-related diseases are on the rise, and roughly 160,000 people in the Charlotte metro area suffer from diabetes.
Today volunteers from ARAMARK, the global professional services company, will partner with The Salvation Army Center of Hope to create an ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) Opportunity Zone that will provide ongoing and comprehensive health and wellness education to help families learn skills to lead healthier lives.
ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) is the company's global volunteer and philanthropic program that strengthens local community centers, like The Salvation Army, and helps struggling families in the U.S. and abroad. In addition to providing year-round emergency shelter for women and children, the Center of Hope offers a multitude of support services for families in need.
"We are consistently amazed by the spirit and dedication of the hundreds of ARAMARK volunteers who have given so much to The Salvation Army over the last several years," said Deronda Metz, Director of Social Services for The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte. "The focus on health and wellness is critical. If parents aren't healthy, they can't gain and maintain employment, and if kids aren't healthy, they miss school and the education they need for a successful future. ARAMARK has helped us bring a greater level of awareness about the importance of good health, and how it can be achieved by everyone."
"ARAMARK is proud of our three-year partnership with the Salvation Army here in Charlotte, and the work we've done to revitalize their facilities and assist families in obtaining not only new skills, but also basic necessities. This organization plays a crucial role in helping people achieve self sufficiency and ensure a thriving community," said Brian Poplin, President, ARAMARK Healthcare Technologies, based in Charlotte.
ARAMARK volunteers plan to transform an under-used outdoor area at the center into a community nutrition education and fitness hub by building a community garden where residents will grow fruit and vegetables, and an adjacent outdoor classroom.
The new ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone will include enhancements and additions to the center's physical fitness and playground areas including additional storage for sporting equipment and games at the adjacent Boys and Girls Club. Volunteers will also add educational and inspirational murals at the center.
Throughout the year, ARAMARK dietitians and culinary professionals will conduct workshops and host healthy cooking demonstrations to teach children and their parents how they can live healthy each and every day. Volunteers will use the ARAMARK Growing Up Healthy curriculum, which provides informative and interactive lessons about nutrition that are specifically targeted for children, and encourages them to learn about and taste healthy foods. In addition, they will work with adults and parents to help them learn new strategies using ARAMARK's Wellness Every Day workshops which cover shopping for health, diabetes and healthy weight loss for them and their families.
About The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte
The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte has been serving Mecklenburg and Union Counties since 1904. As the largest shelter in the Southeast, the Salvation Army's Center of Hope offers a comprehensive program of on-site services, including the national's only Boys and Girls Club within a homeless shelter. The shelter routinely operates at capacity, and in 2011 admitted more than 5,710 people, including five women over 85, and 27 newborns.
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