ARAMARK HAS held its first Global Volunteer Day, with more than 150 employees running a fun ‘healthy for life’ activity day at schools across the UK, with the aim of getting children excited by healthier lifestyles, better nutrition and taking more exercise.
At the same time, across many of the countries in which Aramark operates, thousands of employees have come together on the same day to deliver local community projects also based on the theme of “Inspiring kids to be healthy for life”. The theme was chosen in recognition of the growing problem of obesity across the world and the need to provide improved awareness of healthier lifestyles.
In the UK, the day, held on 19 March, saw Aramark employee volunteers join forces to give their time to four schools across the country, for a day of healthy food and nutrition education, games, quizzes, art and fun physical exercise. In total, around 1,000 children took part.
At Sebright School in Hackney, and St Clare’s School in Birmingham, Aramark partnered with City Year UK, part of the international volunteering charity, City Year, for a day of activities including physical training, an obstacle course and ‘make your own healthy packed lunch’. Children could also take home ingredients and a recipe for a healthy meal to cook with their families back at home.
At Treloars School and College in Alton, Hampshire, a specialist school for physically disabled students, the Aramark team’s activities included building a herb garden and a ‘Ready Steady Cook’-style healthy cooking competition.
And at Stoneywood Primary School in Aberdeen, close to the company’s Scotland and Offshore head office, activities ranged from making healthy packed lunches, to games and quizzes, and developing vegetable and herb gardens.
While Aramark’s employees were helping the health of British children, across the globe more than 100 similar events were taking place in locations as diverse as Philadelphia, Santiago, Beijing, Mumbai and Barcelona.
“This is a unique venture on an international scale, building on Aramark’s culture of service, community and doing the right thing”, says Andrew Main, Aramark’s UK Chief Executive, who volunteered at Sebright School. “As one of the world’s largest food service companies, serving more than 2 billion meals to customers each year across the globe, we see the importance of educating people to make healthier choices and we understand our responsibility to help make that happen.
“Aramark’s mission is to ‘deliver experiences that enrich and nourish lives’. That’s much more than just words – we have seen it come to life today as, pausing from the day job, my colleagues and I have seen children around the country be really excited by the idea of healthier living. I know our Aramark volunteer teams have also found it an extremely rewarding experience.”
Janice Thomas, Executive Headteacher of Sebright Primary School, said: “Thank you to Aramark for involving Sebright Primary School in its ‘healthy for life’ volunteer day. To be part of something which was happening worldwide made the event extra special. The lessons the children learnt about how they can make healthier choices will stay with them for a long time.”
The concept of Global Volunteer Day is an extension of Aramark’s existing year-round philanthropic and volunteering programme, Aramark Building Community. Since it was introduced in 2008, more than 20,000 Aramark employees around the world have given their time to support community projects which are estimated to have helped up to four million families, whether through improving family health, preparing young people and adults for the world of work, or supporting individuals and families working their way out of poverty.