INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- For many residents of Indianapolis' Fountain Square neighborhood, meals come from fast food restaurants or convenience stores. The high poverty rate, combined with a lack of access to healthy food has contributed to poor nutrition and nutrition-related chronic diseases, including obesity and diabetes.
Today, ARAMARK will create a hub for health and wellness education and awareness at Southeast Community Services (SECS) that will provide children and adults in Fountain Square with greater access to fresh, healthy produce, and opportunities to increase their physical fitness paired with ongoing nutrition education and awareness programs
This program is part of the company's philanthropic and volunteer program, ARAMARK Building Community, which enriches the lives of families in need by helping to improve health, prepare people for work, and help them move out of poverty and live successful lives. ARAMARK has partnered with SECS since 2010, providing volunteer expertise, grants and in-kind donations to help SECS deliver essential services and programs, and help individuals and families succeed.
"ARAMARK is excited to take the next step in our partnership with Southeast Community Services," said John Hanner, President ARAMARK Correctional Services. "By lending our expertise today and throughout the year, we will help arm residents in their fight against obesity and chronic disease."
The ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone will include a community produce garden, giving residents a place to enjoy the outdoors while they learn to grow and enjoy fruits and vegetables. Employee volunteers will also transform an unused parking lot into a play space for local children. The new area will incorporate popular games like four-square and dodge ball to help encourage physical fitness in a fun way.
"ARAMARK has been a true partner for SECS and has made not only our staff, but also our neighbors and other organizational partners understand that truly caring people work at ARAMARK. We feel that we have a special relationship with the company and their employees and as we continually work with and think of them as friends and colleagues--not just a group of folks that come in for a day and help," said Terri Garcia, Executive Director of SECS.
To support the ongoing programs and maintenance of the ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone, ARAMARK employees donated shovels, gloves and other supplies to keep the community garden blooming and provide continuing opportunities for residents to stay active.
Throughout the year, ARAMARK nutrition and culinary experts will lead wellness workshops, demonstrate healthy cooking techniques, and teach nutrition education classes for residents, and incorporate changes in eating habits and behaviors
SECS has demonstrated its commitment to underserved areas of Indianapolis for more than four decades, serving nearly 2,100 people every year. Since beginning their partnership, ARAMARK has provided SECS with resources ranging from job readiness classes to donating basic needs such as holiday food packages for families and children every winter. With a dedicated team of employee volunteers, ARAMARK has also supported SECS annually in preparing more than 40,000 Thanksgiving meals for local families.
About Southeast Community Services
Southeast Community Services (SECS) was organized in 1972 through Mayor Richard Lugar's office as a consortium of area agencies and neighborhood groups to deliver needed services to the near southeast side of Indianapolis. Originally known as the Southeast Multi-Service Center, the organization shortened its name to Southeast Community Services in 2000. Since its founding in 1972, SECS has been committed to addressing the diverse needs of residents, from youth to seniors. The organization's overall goal is to help residents lead dignified, fulfilling, and self-sufficient lives.
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.
Mary Rucci, ARAMARK
Terri Garcia, Southeast Community Services