Sodexo, the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University and Unilever Celebrate Success of Annual Summer Feeding Program
CHICAGO, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Sodexo and Unilever today celebrate Feeding Our Future®, an annual summer program that provided more than 22,000 free meals to local youth this summer. Volunteers from Sodexo, Unilever, and The Campus Kitchens Project gathered at Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center with more than 125 area children to celebrate the program’s success and educate the program participants on the benefits of healthy eating.
At the celebration, children ages 4 to 12 joined with Sodexo nutritionists and chefs in an educational tasting program to learn about healthy food choices, perform taste experiments, and sample healthy foods to identify their personal food preferences. Nutrition education activities took students through 6 different learning stations where they made yogurt parfaits from fresh fruit and dairy; sampled vegetables prepared in different ways; experimented with whole grains; learned about healthy protein alternatives; gained understanding about sugar in snacks and beverages; and even participated in a MyPlate relay race as a way to incorporate physical activity. Healthy lunches were also served, which included whole wheat wraps with red pepper hummus, grilled veggies and black beans with a side of fruit and cheese.
Since 1997, Sodexo’s Feeding Our Future(® )program has provided more than 268,000 summer lunches to youth from low-income households in Chicago who rely on free and reduced-priced meals during the academic year. The Feeding Our Future program at Northwestern University is run by a team of dedicated college students and Sodexo employees through The Campus Kitchens Project. Feeding Our Future now operates in 24 cities in the United States and is made possible in Chicago by a grant from Sodexo Foundation, the anti-hunger charitable arm of Sodexo, Inc., and matching funds from Unilever. Across the nation, Sodexo employees work closely with local hunger-relief organizations, partnering vendors and clients to prepare and distribute the meals to children at local feeding sites.
“The Campus Kitchens Project and Sodexo Foundation agree that young people play a critical role in the fight to end childhood hunger,” said Michael Curtin, CEO, The Campus Kitchens Project. “By participating in Feeding Our Future, student volunteers at the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University develop valuable leadership skills while making a meaningful impact in their community.”
Childhood hunger continues to be a growing problem in the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 16.2 million children in America struggle with hunger. Findings from a 2011 study conducted by Feeding America, a national hunger-relief charity, show that the child food insecurity rate in Illinois topped 22 percent, with more than 350,000 children at risk of hunger. The resulting impact of that hunger frequently includes health issues, poor academic performance, and limited future employment opportunities.
“There is one simple thing that any of us can do to offer our children a leg up in the world. Feed them,” said Robert A. Stern, chair, Sodexo Foundation. “Feeding Our Future does just that, helping to fill the gap of the 19 million U.S. children not reached by other supplemental nutrition programs during the summer months.”
This summer, Feeding Our Future will provide 400,000 summer lunches to youth in Atlanta; Boston; Buffalo, N.Y.; Camden, N.J.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chicago; Denver; Detroit; Fort Worth, Texas; Honolulu; Houston; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; Norfolk, Va.; Oklahoma City; Pittsburgh; San Jose, Calif.; St. Cloud, Minn.; St. Louis; Syracuse, N.Y.; Terre Haute, Ind. and Washington.
Programs like Feeding Our Future exemplify the positive contributions that large corporations are making in support of local communities. Working in collaboration with Sodexo are 26 of its vendor partners, including The Coca-Cola Company, Unilever, Sysco and The Schwan Food Company. Together they are providing more than $103,000 in funds which allows Sodexo Foundation to implement these essential supplemental nutrition programs in cities nationwide. Thanks to these efforts, by the end of this summer Feeding Our Future will have provided more than 3 million free summer lunches to children since the program began in 1997.
“Unilever Food Solutions proudly partners with Sodexo on the Feeding Our Future program, as it ties in so closely with our own beliefs and vision to make a difference. Our goal is to have an impact on the vitality and nutrition of millions of people, and childhood hunger is certainly a part of that,” said Ted Skodol, director of customer marketing.
To make a contribution to the fight against hunger or for more information, please visit www.sodexofoundation.org.
ABOUT THE CAMPUS KITCHENS PROJECT
The Campus Kitchens Project (CKP), a national organization that provides healthy meals to those in need by harnessing the spirit of student volunteerism within local communities. Established in 2001, CKP operates on 31 university and high school campuses. Students repurpose unused food from dining halls, grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers’ markets for delivery to local agencies. In addition, Campus Kitchens implement garden initiatives, participate in nutrition education, and hold food policy events on campus. Thanks to the support of the Walmart Foundation, Sodexo, the Marriott Foundation, and the Corporation for National and Community Service, CKP continues to grow. More information on CKP is available at www.campuskitchens.org.
ABOUT UNILEVER FOOD SOLUTIONS NORTH AMERICA
At Unilever Food Solutions, we help chefs all over the world serve tasty, wholesome meals that keep guests coming back for more. We create ingredients that save precious prep time in the kitchen, without compromising on flavor or flair. And constantly provide ideas and inspiration that keep your menu fresh and exciting. Our ingredients are some of the staples of professional kitchens in 74 countries around the world: Knorr, Hellmann’s, Lipton and more. We’ve been in the foodservice industry since the 1880s. We have more than 300 chefs on staff around the world, so we understand that critical balance between impressing your guests and making a profit. And how to keep your menus and recipes fresh and exciting, as times and tastes change. For more information on Unilever Food Solutions please visit http://www.unileverfoodsolutions.com.
ABOUT SODEXO’S FIGHT AGAINST HUNGER
Sodexo Inc. and Sodexo Foundation work to help end hunger in the United States. Sodexo Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission to end childhood hunger. The foundation works to ensure that every child in the United States, especially those most at-risk, grows up with dependable access to enough nutritious food to enable them to lead a healthy, productive life. Sodexo Foundation cultivates and maintains strategic partnerships with regional and national hunger-relief entities and youth mobilization organizations–all part of Sodexo’s STOP Hunger Initiative, its global program to end hunger and malnutrition in the communities where it operates. Sodexo is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md. and funds all administrative costs for Sodexo Foundation, which since 1999 has made more than $17 million in grants to end childhood hunger. Visit www.SodexoFoundation.org for more information.
Sodexo's STOP Hunger Programs Impact to Date (as of June 2012) Sodexo Foundation Distributed more than $17 million in grants Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Gave $353,000 in scholarships Scholarship & matching grants Heroes of Everyday Life(R) Awarded $478,000 to employees' hunger charities Feeding Our Future(R) Funded more than 2.9 million summer meals Sodexo Servathon Mobilized 125,000 employees to fight hunger Backpack Food Program Funded 70 programs; providing 2 million meals
SOURCE Sodexo, Inc.