Sodexo Foundation Honors Chattanooga-Area Volunteer for Fighting Hunger in the Local Community
May 30, 2013
Erlanger Health System general manager, Jonathan Wilson Darling, earns recognition for alleviating hunger faced by area children and families
GAITHERSBURG, Md., May 29, 2013 — Sodexo Foundation announced today that Sodexo employee Jonathan Wilson Darling, a general manager with Erlanger Health System, has been named a 2013 Hero of Everyday Life for his more than twelve years of work fighting hunger in the local community. In honor of his volunteer service, Darling will receive a $5,000 grant presented in his name to the hunger-related charity of his choice, the Chattanooga Community Kitchen. In addition, the Ooltewah, Tenn. resident and one guest will receive a three-day, all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., where Darling is to be formally recognized for his efforts on June 6th at the 14th Annual Sodexo Foundation Dinner.
Nationally, hunger continues to affect more than 50 million people – 16 million of them being children. In the Chattanooga area more than 25 percent of children are considered “food-insecure” according to the most recent figures from Feeding America. Darling has worked to reduce these numbers by leading efforts that have resulted in the donation of more than 100,000 pounds of food and more than $20,000 to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. He also started a local backpack food program that last year provided 1,250 backpacks full of nutritious food to fifty children at Orchard Knob Elementary School.
“Volunteer efforts like these are essential in helping to improve quality of life for those in our communities – particularly at this time of year,” said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation. “According to a recent survey, 43 percent of low-income families already struggling to put a meal on the table are faced with food budgets that can increase by an estimated $300 per month when school lets out.”
Understanding the challenge of eliminating hunger, locally and throughout the country, Darling has actively worked to raise awareness about the issue and to rally colleagues to the cause. He started recruiting his peers in the fight against hunger in 2001, and today his local food bank includes 45 Sodexo volunteers. His work has grown beyond the local Chattanooga community helping those in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi.
“Seeing a need and knowing I can do something to bring about positive change is what drives me,” said Darling. “Whether it’s an elementary school student who receives food for the weekend or a local resident benefiting from the Chattanooga Area Food Bank -- that my team of volunteers and I played a small but important role in making this happen -- it’s a gift.”
Sodexo employees who invest their time, talent, and service spirit in helping those at-risk of hunger in the United States are recognized annually by Sodexo Foundation as Heroes of Everyday Life. Nominees are evaluated on demonstrated impact, level of positive influence on local communities, the number of people affected, ability to engage others in the fight against hunger and, the degree of innovation and educational value. To date, Sodexo Foundation has awarded 108 honorees with grants for their hunger-related charities totaling $508,000. See the full list of 2013 Sodexo Heroes of Everyday Life at www.SodexoFoundation.org.
As the leading provider of Quality of Life services, fighting hunger is the focus of Sodexo’s community service efforts. It also supports our Better Tomorrow commitments and STOP Hunger program, which mobilizes entire Sodexo communities, including employees, consumers, clients, and suppliers to help end hunger.
Sodexo in North America
Sodexo, Inc. (www.sodexoUSA.com), leading Quality of Life services company in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, delivers On-site Services in Corporate, Education, Health Care, Government, and Remote Site segments, as well as Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Sodexo, Inc., headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., funds all administrative costs for the Sodexo Foundation (www.SodexoFoundation.org), an independent charitable organization that, since its founding in 1999, has made more than $20 million in grants to end childhood hunger in America. Visit the corporate blog at blogs.sodexousa.com.
Founded in 1966 by Pierre Bellon, Sodexo is the global leader in services that improve Quality of Life, an essential factor in individual and organizational performance. Operating in 80 countries, Sodexo serves 75 million consumers each day through its unique combination of On-site Services, Benefits and Rewards Services and Personal and Home Services. Through its more than 100 services, Sodexo provides clients an integrated offering developed over more than 45 years of experience: from reception, safety, maintenance and cleaning, to foodservices and facilities and equipment management; from Meal Pass, Gift Pass and Mobility Pass benefits for employees to in-home assistance and concierge services. Sodexo’s success and performance are founded on its independence, its sustainable business model and its ability to continuously develop and engage its 420,000 employees throughout the world.