CHICAGO, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Jane Addams Hull House Association (Hull House) today announced the continuation of its partnership with ARAMARK (www.aramark.com), the global professional services company, to strengthen Chicago communities. To kick off the celebration of the partnership, now going into its fourth year, a team of 100 ARAMARK volunteers will refurbish the Parkway Community House, one of the Hull House community centers.
Volunteers will enhance health and wellness programs by creating safe space for recreation, fitness, urban gardening and nutrition education. This initiative is part of ARAMARK Building Community (ABC), the company's signature philanthropic and volunteer program, which enriches the lives of families by strengthening local community centers.
The need for health and wellness solutions in the Chicagoland community is clear. In the Englewood neighborhood, for example, childhood obesity rates are nearly double the nationwide average. More than 60 percent of children between two and 18 are overweight, compared to 50 percent in Chicago and slightly more than 30 percent nationwide.
Louise Smith, President and CEO of Hull House Association said the ARAMARK volunteers and partnership "have been a source of tremendous inspiration to Hull House clients and staff alike. With ARAMARK's help we've been able to heighten significantly the services that we can deliver to our clients each year."
Since the relationship began, ARAMARK has contributed more than $500,000 in direct financial support, in-kind contributions and volunteer involvement. Today's event at Parkway House is the latest in a series of neighborhood programs, initiatives and projects developed by Hull House and ARAMARK.
"We are incredibly proud of our ongoing relationship with Hull House, and how working together we are benefitting this community in so many ways," said Mary Ann Wyman, Vice President, ARAMARK Healthcare. "ARAMARK employees bring their time, their energy, and their expertise to the Hull House and to the critical things they do to help build strong Chicago neighborhoods and help families succeed."
Company employees have refurbished three different facilities, including Mahalia Jackson Elementary School. The team has also hosted school supply and food drives, and company chefs and dietitians have implemented nutrition and wellness workshops to children and adults in community centers throughout the Hull House network.
In addition, more than 700 community residents and 50 employers benefitted from an ARAMARK-sponsored career fair. ARAMARK volunteers help community members develop job skills, one of the first steps toward reducing poverty and decreasing food insecurity, noted Smith.
Through ARAMARK Building Community, the company develops long-term partnerships to improve facilities, prepare youth and adults for careers and connect them to the workforce, and encourage healthy lifestyles through health and wellness education and awareness. By the end of 2011 ARAMARK Building Community will be in more than 50 cities impacting more than 2.5 million individuals and families in the US and abroad.
About Jane Addams Hull House Association
Founded in 1889 by Jane Addams on Chicago's West Side, Hull House became America's premiere institution of service, advocacy and philanthropy for the city's poor and underserved. The original Halsted Street settlement house set the standard for working with poor, marginalized communities and systemically correcting social injustice. Ms. Addams went on to become the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Hull House continues Ms. Addams' work with 50 community-based programs that impact more than 60,000 children, families and individuals each year, most who live below the federal poverty level. Hull House offers programs in Child Development Services, Child Welfare, and Family Services and Community Building.
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, and businesses around the world. The company is recognized as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as 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 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at the company's Web site, www.aramark.com, or www.twitter.com/aramarknews
Jon Putnam, Hull House
Mary Rucci, ARAMARK