Building Community - ARAMARK and Families International, Inc.
As a result of a strategic community involvement process, professional services provider ARAMARK made the discovery that community centers could benefit from their greatest strengths and expertise: nutrition and wellness, workforce readiness and facilities management. Partnering with Families International, Inc to best reach those local community centers, the company created ARAMARK Building Community (ABC) with a goal of enriching the lives of families in need by supporting and strengthening community centers where their basic and long term needs are met.
The strategy for ARAMARK Building Community was to create an umbrella cause brand to encompass the company’s professional support, philanthropic donations, and volunteer activities with community centers. Throughout the year, regional groups of ARAMARK employees, called ‘Star Teams’, bring together ARAMARK’s diverse workforce within designated geographic areas. ARAMARK’s Star Teams provide opportunities for employees to work together to support and respond to the needs of their local communities. Members of the company’s executive committee attend every large-scale ARAMARK Building Community center enhancement day, and more than 600 events have taken place since the program launched.
Employees have volunteered to help community centers in several ways:
- Culinary and nutrition professionals educate families on health and wellness. ARAMARK’s nearly 1,000 dietitians and thousands of culinary professionals develop nutrition education curriculum and materials targeted to parents and children and collaborate with center experts to facilitate health and wellness educational sessions as well as host cooking demonstrations, workshops and seminars through local health and wellness fairs and other events.
- Employees help youth and adults prepare for and find meaningful work. Sharing human resources expertise during career education workshops, career fairs and other programs, employees offer assistance with resume writing and job search tips and skills.
- Volunteers create safe and inspiring Community Center environments. Working closely with community center partners ARAMARK assesses their existing needs and finds opportunities to provide new and enhanced support for their facilities, including input on how to operate their buildings safely and more efficiently. Employees have created workforce readiness classrooms and painted inspirational murals, built benches and picnic tables, developed community gardens, refurbished play spaces, and landscaped grounds. By focusing on making improvements to the facilities and building infrastructure, the ARAMARK team enables local community centers to apply funds to better meet their missions.
- Employees coordinate drives to meet basic human needs. Employees respond to neighborhood needs by providing community centers with food, books, clothing and toys. Volunteers in two dozen cities host drives collecting food items, clothing items and school supplies that are donated to thousands of children and adults.
Since the program began, more than 18,000 employees have volunteered for large-scale center enhancement days and other activities with their community center partners, contributing more than 80,000 hours of volunteer service. More than 3.5 million individuals served by community centers have benefited by ARAMARK Building Community’s more than 50 local non-profit partnerships.