Aramark Celebrates Another Edition of ABC Day

(3BL Media/Just Means) - A concern​ ​over unemployment in his community led Ben Hernandez to employ his culinary skills to develop a course teaching cooking and kitchen basics to youth and adults to improve their chances to get a job.

He teaches the four-week course two to three times a year for about 10 students, covering techniques for preparing everything from sauces to desserts. At the end of the course, he ​links the students with employers for possible job placements. In his last class of eight students, seven were hired within a week of completing the class,​ ​​including some ​by ​Aramark​, ​a global provider of award-winning services in food, facilities management, and uniforms, who Ben works for as ​District Executive Chef with Baylor University, in Waco, Texas​.​

In recognition to his work, Ben​ was ​honored as the company’s 2015 Volunteer of the Year in recognition of his commitment to volunteer service and leadership in his community. With the support of Aramark, he connected with Mission Waco, a local community center that ​that helps people who are struggling and encourages community members to support them. Aramark​ ​pays homage to its employees who enrich their communities through the Aramark Volunteer Awards, which are presented annually.

“We have already hired two from the classes at Baylor and are looking at a third,” Hernandez said. The students were hired into both catering jobs and cooking positions. The course is now a significant part of Mission Waco’s Empowerment job training program that also teaches unemployed and underemployed computer skills, job search skills, and life skills such as goal-setting and budgeting.

Hernandez was one of 26 employees around the world being honored by Aramark in 2015. Since the program’s inception, more than 375 company volunteers have been recognized for their commitment to volunteerism and service.

Volunteerism is a big part of Aramark's commitment to social good. ​Yesterday was the Aramark Building Communities Day ​(ABC Day). This is a day when thousands of employees donate their time and enthusiasm to their communities. Last year, 5,000 employees contributed to 25,000 hours of service across the U.S, as well as some international sites.

For instance, in Chicago Aramark volunteers were helping youth and adults gain job skills by establishing a new center for workforce readiness at Casa Central’s La Posada location. In Philadelphia, they established a Healthy For Life® Zone at Congreso’s North Philadelphia campus, as part of Aramark Building Community Day (ABC Day). The health and wellness hub helped families make healthy food choices part of their everyday lives and improve their overall wellbeing. Within the Hispanic population in that area, 37.1% of adults and 39.8% of children six and older were reported as overweight or obese in a 2012 survey by Public Health Management Corporation.

Those were just two examples. In 12 cities, large-scale projects with 100 to 200 volunteers took place at neighborhood organizations, where employees spent a full day empowering people to lead healthier lives and gain critical workforce skills. Projects took place in Atlanta, Beijing, Charlotte (NC), Houston, Los Angeles, Nashville, Toronto and Washington, D.C. besides projects across Chile and the U.K.

Prior to the day, many Aramark employees have taken to social media to post pictures of the volunteer work they have been doing. Tagging them with the hashtag #AramarkVolunteer, they show staff involved in all kinds of works in their communities, such as painting schools, working and donating blood for 9/11 Remembrance Day while others are seen giving their time to a youth center​.

​As VolunteerMatch says, volunteerism is corporate social responsibility. When a company like Aramark encourages and empowers their staff to engage in volunteer work and give back to the community, they add value to their brand, create social good and keep staff happy as volunteerism boosts self-esteem and sense of achievement.

Image credit: Aramark