SEATTLE, Sept. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- While the redevelopment of West Seattle's High Point community has transformed it into a beautiful neighborhood, more than 75 percent of the residents live at or below the area median income. The average income for a family of four is less than $20,000 a year, and residents lack access to fresh, nutritious food, and suffer from higher-than-average nutrition- and obesity-related health issues.
Today ARAMARK, the global professional services company, will establish an ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone at Neighborhood House's High Point Center that will be a hub for local residents to address these health issues by learning about nutrition and healthy food. The High Point Center provides a variety of services to low-income families to help them achieve self-sufficiency, health and wellness, and improve their community.
This project is part of a two-year relationship between ARAMARK and Neighborhood House that is helping High Point families thrive. Through ARAMARK Building Community (ABC), the company's global volunteer and philanthropic program, ARAMARK strengthens local community centers and helps struggling families in the U.S. and abroad.
"Residents of High Point struggle not only with obesity and diabetes, but also with issues including asthma, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many came from war-torn countries," explained Mark Okazaki, Executive Director. "We have more than 30 different ethnic groups in this community, and ARAMARK volunteers are helping us turn gardening and health education into a common language to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together."
The ABC Opportunity Zone will include an outdoor classroom where ARAMARK culinary and nutrition experts will teach a series of nutrition education workshops for children and families. These workshops will provide the tools to encourage and support balanced nutrition and physical activity. More than 100 volunteers are participating, building planter boxes for families, providing soil and seeds to help them grow their own fruits and vegetables, and revitalizing the overall center environment.
"Our volunteers are working with Neighborhood House to help them address a variety of social issues, including health and wellness," said Bruce Fears, president, ARAMARK Parks and Destinations. "Today we expanded our commitment to the community by creating the foundation for an ongoing nutrition education program. Our chefs, dietitians and culinarians will lend their expertise, helping address the fight against obesity, lead healthy and successful lives, and build a strong and vibrant community. "
About Neighborhood House
Neighborhood House is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help diverse communities of people with limited resources attain their goals for self-sufficiency, financial independence, health and community building. Neighborhood House is located within revitalized public housing communities across Seattle and King County, including High Point, Rainier Vista, Yesler Terrace, NewHolly and Greenbridge. In 2010, Neighborhood House created High Point PROMISE, a pledge that all of the 1,200 children in the High Point community will be kindergarten-ready, academically successful, and graduate from high school ready for college and career. For additional information visit nhwa.org or facebook.com/neighborhoodhouseseattle.
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/aramarknews.
Contact: Mary Rucci, ARAMARK