ATLANTA, Oct. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- An estimated 21,000 people are homeless in Georgia, and lack not only housing, but also access to health and wellness programs and support that can help them improve their lives.
Today ARAMARK, the global professional services company, will expand its three-year partnership with Atlanta Mission, which provides emergency shelter and other support to more than 950 men, women and children each day. Company employee volunteers will create an ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) Opportunity Zone focused on health and wellness education and awareness at The Shepherd's Inn, an Atlanta Mission facility located in downtown Atlanta.
ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) is the company's global volunteer and philanthropic program that strengthens local community centers and helps struggling families in the U.S. and abroad. As part of the ABC Opportunity Zone, ARAMARK volunteers will transform an under-used empty lot at The Shepherd's Inn into a dedicated recreation and fitness area. Volunteers will also revitalize the community garden that ARAMARK volunteers helped establish last year, which offers a place for residents to grow fruit and vegetables.
Throughout the year, ARAMARK dietitians and culinary professionals will host ongoing health and nutrition information and education seminars to provide easy and tasty ways staff and residents can use products from the garden and learn nutrition strategies to improve overall nutrition and health.
"We are proud of our partnership with the Atlanta Mission. We recognize the essential role that organizations like the Atlanta Mission play in helping families and communities thrive," said Dennis Maple, president, ARAMARK Education. "The ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone is a place where people can realize their potential, and our employees will lend their unique culinary and nutrition skills to play an ongoing role in helping families in this community meet their goals and succeed."
Exercise and nutrition are critical components of well-being and "healthy independence," said Jim Reese, President and CEO of Atlanta Mission. For many years, a major goal for Shepherd's Inn was the creation of a fitness and recreation space for residents but the facility lacked the resources for the project, he said.
The new ARAMARK Building Community Opportunity Zone, which will include chin-up and push-up bars, sit-up benches and a new half-court basketball area, will help residents achieve "the physical aspect to the life transformation that occurs here," Reese said.
"With partnerships like the one with ARAMARK, we can continue to provide a high level of awareness about ongoing health and wellness programs to improve the lives of residents," said Reese. "ARAMARK provides an example of what it means to be a responsible agent of change for communities, in the midst of a challenging economy and a time of great need."
ARAMARK's partnership with Atlanta Mission began in 2009, and since then employee volunteers have shared their expertise and resources, enhancing facilities to provide safe and inviting spaces for residents, building a community garden and holding nutrition education and awareness events, and helping to provide basic necessities, such as food and clothing.
About Atlanta Mission
Established in 1938, the ministry provides emergency shelter, residential discipleship, job attainment, and transitional housing to more than 950 homeless men, women and children daily. Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta next to Centennial Olympic Park, The Shepherd's Inn is Atlanta Mission's largest facility serving as many as 425 homeless men every day.
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/aramark.
Contact: Mary Rucci, ARAMARK