ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The West 7th neighborhood in St. Paul, Minnesota is an area where senior citizens are experiencing a deep financial decline. In 2012, 43% of the senior citizen population lived below the federal poverty line with limited access to healthy food.
Today, ARAMARK is establishing an ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone for seniors and the community at the West 7th Community Center, giving residents of the neighborhood better access to fresh food and nutrition resources, plus improved spaces for physical activity.
West 7th Community Center is a member of the Metropolitan Alliance of Connected Communities (MACC), a network of 80 community centers supporting 315,000 residents across the Twin Cities. ARAMARK has partnered with MACC since 2009 through the company's strategic philanthropic and volunteer program, ARAMARK Building Community, which enriches lives by helping people improve their health, secure jobs, and move out of poverty.
Volunteers at West 7th will create a community garden to grow fresh produce, and fruits and vegetables from the garden will contribute to the center's Meals on Wheels program, providing housebound seniors with options for fresh foods. Produce from the gardens will also be available to community members of all ages so that lower-income residents can enjoy healthy eating. Volunteers donated gardening supplies to help center staff and the seniors with the ongoing maintenance and expansion of the garden.
In addition to the garden, ARAMARK employees will create an inspiring activity space in the gymnasium with murals, logos and storage bins, and make improvements to classrooms and the senior center where nutrition programs can take place.
Throughout the year ARAMARK dietitians and nutrition experts will lead workshops to help seniors regain their health and independence while encouraging them to try new wellness-related activities. The programs will enhance efforts already in place by contributing to the center's monthly "Wellness Friday" educational presentations.
"We're thrilled that we can help improve the lives of hundreds of senior citizens as we expand our partnership with the MACC Alliance and West 7th Community Center in St. Paul," said Frank Kiely, ARAMARK Regional Vice President of Business Dining. "Our employees are happy to pitch in and help improve the lives of those around them."
"West 7th Community Center is excited to have the support of ARAMARK for our wellness programs, today, and throughout the year. ARAMARK volunteers will help to transform our center to better provide the building blocks of wellness," said Greg Wandersee, Executive Director of West 7th Community Center.
Since the partnership with MACC Alliance began, ARAMARK volunteers have helped children get ready for school by conducting school supply drives, brightened the holidays of those in need by hosting toy drives for three MACC Alliance community centers, and helped to host holiday events.
About West 7th Community Center
Founded in 1972, West 7th Community Center is a Minnesota non-profit 501(c) (3) organization with over 40 years of experience serving residents of St. Paul's West 7th and surrounding neighborhoods. The mission of West 7th Community Center is to create a gathering place where neighbors find and contribute resources to strengthen their personal, family, and community lives. Our goals are to provide services that empower residents to achieve or maintain independence, stability, and self-sufficiency, and to provide activities that promote community involvement and cohesiveness and enhance residents' quality of life. More than 72,000 people benefit each year from West 7th direct services, facility use and site-based programming.
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 $7.5 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