If you’re a college student, there’s a good chance that your dinner tonight will be prepared and served by a Sodexo employee. Sodexo, one of the largest food and facilities management services, operates many college and university dining halls across the country. But those employees don’t just work to feed students in cafeterias – they often work to feed their communities, too.
Sodexo Foundation was created to provide nutritious food to children who are food insecure with the hope that access to healthy food will “enable them to lead a healthy, productive life.” The foundation supports thirteen Campus Kitchens across the country, and Sodexo employees at those schools are often found working side-by-side with Campus Kitchen Volunteers. In April, Sodexo employees are encouraged to participate in Servathon, a month-long initiative which encourages them to help through fundraisers, food drives, donations, and volunteering. There are, however, Sodexo employees, that fight hunger all year-round.
At the Campus Kitchen at Northwestern University (CKNU), not only does Sodexo provide donated food, kitchen space and materials, it is not uncommon for employees to help train CKNU volunteers, prepare and deliver meals, or step in to share food service expertise with CKNU teams regarding products or food safety. Chefs show volunteers how to properly prepare and store food, while a nutritionist teaches them about healthy eating and serving nutritious meals. This allows CKNU to create meals that have “a more nutritious bang for the buck,” according to CKNU coordinator Katie Darin.
Last month, CKNU launched a new nutrition education program for Family Focus – an organization in Illinois that provides education and training programs to help families raise healthy children. Sodexo chefs have been volunteering their time and expertise to help teach Family Focus clients about nutrition. “Chef Marsha Dawkins and Manager Grace Knight recently held a demonstration on how to make a quick, healthy meal out of items you might already have in your pantry,” Darin said. CKNU hopes the new program will keep going strong with the help of Sodexo.
The Campus Kitchen at Marquette University (CKMU) also owes a lot to a Sodexo employee. Sharon Hope works in Straz Tower at Marquette, taking care of her students and making sure their dietary needs are met. Her spare time then goes toward helping CKMU plan and cook meals for their clients in Milwaukee. Sharon has been known to work for CKMU as many as 30 hours a week during the summer preparing as many as 500 meals on a weekly basis. Her efforts were recently recognized when she won a Sodexo Experience award, and she was honored as a Hero of Everyday Life in 2005.
Northwestern and Marquette are just two of many Campus Kitchens that work with Sodexo employees to help feed their communities during Servathon in April – and every other month of the year.