RICHMOND, Va., June 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Once a thriving, upscale community, Richmond's historic Jackson Ward is today a struggling neighborhood, where a large number of residents' incomes fall below the federal poverty line, and obesity and other nutrition-related health issues are on the rise.
To help fight obesity and chronic disease caused by poor nutrition, ARAMARK, the global professional services company, will today transform the FRIENDS Association for Children center in Jackson Ward into a hub for ongoing nutrition and wellness education and awareness. ARAMARK has been working with FRIENDS since 2009, as part of ARAMARK Building Community, the company's strategic philanthropic and volunteer program, which enriches lives by helping to improve family health, prepare people to work, and help move people from poverty to success.
"We are extremely grateful for our friends at ARAMARK for all they do for our organization. Their volunteers selflessly give of their time and talents to support everything from helping enhance the physical environment of our center, to sharing nutrition and healthy cooking information at health fairs," said J. David Young, Executive Director, FRIENDS Association for Children. "ARAMARK is an extraordinary community partner and we look forward to continuing our relationship for many years to come."
The new ARAMARK Building Community health and wellness hub will include a refurbished community garden, an enhanced outdoor physical fitness and recreation area, and an updated multi-purpose room to host health and wellness education seminars and more.
"When we come together on days like these, we demonstrate ARAMARK's commitment to building strong communities," said Mark Nelson, president, ARAMARK Higher Education. "Tens of thousands of our employees have given their time and their skills, not only here in Richmond, but in 52 cities around the world. By lending our expertise, we have helped millions of people lead healthy, successful lives."
ARAMARK volunteers will continue to teach cooking and nutrition programs for students at FRIENDS. More than 100 children who use the community center will be able to participate in the programs, including the "Top Chef" camp, where chefs and culinary experts teach the children about various ingredients of recipes and how to prepare nutritious food at home.
"Chefs from ARAMARK have become a staple presence within our summer program for children. They teach them how easy it is to prepare healthy, delicious meals and snacks," Young said.
Since the partnership began, ARAMARK volunteers have supported FRIENDS year-round, leading health and wellness educational programs and supporting Earth Day volunteer activities in the community garden. During the holiday season, ARAMARK supports a holiday gift shop for children.
About FRIENDS Association for Children
Annually, FRIENDS Association for Children serves 1,000 families, including more than 400 children, ages two to 17, at the John C. Purnell, Jr. Child Development Center. FRIENDS strives to help children and families reach their potential in school and in life, offering a child development program, a youth development program, Head Start classes, music and performing arts activities and more. Founded in 1871, FRIENDS has served the Jackson Ward community continuously for over 140 years.
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