GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sodexo, world leader in Quality of Life Services, celebrates the successful 20th year of employees impacting hunger issues in communities across North America. Its annual Stop Hunger Servathon, a month-long, global effort, draws to a close this week. Every year during the month of April, Sodexo employees, clients, customers and local stakeholders join forces to fight hunger and raise awareness about related health and nutrition issues. Results for the worldwide effort will be announced in June.
Employee-led, community-based efforts like Sodexo's Stop Hunger Servathon are especially critical at a time when global hunger organizations are expressing concern about 2017 government budgets and appropriations that will further restrict rather than expand flexibility in nutrition services. According the Food Research and Action Center, such programs provide a critical safety net and help millions of struggling households.
"Sodexo is committed to supporting local communities and nothing is more essential to that support than ensuring food access," said Lorna C. Donatone, region chair for North America and CEO schools worldwide. "Inadequate funding of supplemental nutrition programs may be penny wise and pound foolish. A study released in March by Bread for the World Institute conservatively reports that hunger saddles the U.S. economy with as much as $160 billion per year in health care costs."
Fighting hunger is the focus of Sodexo's community service efforts. As part of its Better Tomorrow Plan commitments, the Stop Hunger program mobilizes entire Sodexo communities, including employees, consumers, clients and suppliers to join forces to make a difference. Servathon is Stop Hunger's largest global annual event, and this April Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation funded over 100 Global Youth Service Day projects across the country with Sodexo partner Youth Service America.
Sodexo Stop Hunger Servathon: Acting Globally, Impacting Locally At the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, Sodexo employees worked with area business partners on a food drive as part of their local Stop Hunger Servathon efforts. Sodexo district manager, Joey Carles and his team, collected more than 3,000 food items, which were delivered today in support of the Salvation Army Homeless Program. Contributions came from Sodexo employees and donations provided by J.W. Mills and Grace Management, Sodexo subcontractors.
Stop Hunger Servathon events are about much more than food donations. Kate Giere, a Sodexo wellness director at State Street Financial in Boston, engaged with local youth and community residents on how healthy foods fuel their bodies. She led an interactive cooking demonstration, and facilitated active games with prizes. The Saint Peter's dining team, led by Sodexo general manager Jeff Weissinger, also taught a free cooking class to families from the Sacred Heart School in Jersey City. It featured recipes ranging from smoothies, cereal snacks, healthy side dishes, two different chicken preparations, and a dessert. Each family went home with a grocery bag full of fresh produce and recipes for each item demonstrated.
In 2015 Sodexo employees and youth in North America engaged 278 nonprofits, provided more than 314,700 meals and raised $87,000 for Servathon efforts aimed at alleviating hunger. Globally, the number of Sodexo employees volunteering last year increased by 47 percent and the total funds that were raised to combat hunger increased in 2015 by 22 percent. Impact figures for 2016 will be announced in June.
Sodexo delivers more than 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life. The global Fortune 500 company is a leader in delivering sustainable, integrated facilities management and foodservice operations.