Originally Published by Sodexo.
Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation announced that it is extending its partnership with the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) and providing a $100,000 grant to improve access to nutritious food to help end childhood hunger. The organizations will continue to work together to support the military community by helping to reduce food insecurity among military families. With the generosity of organizations like Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, ASYMCA can help stop military family hunger through programs and services supporting young, low-income military families.
“Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is proud to partner with ASYMCA to support innovative programs aimed at ending child hunger in America today because all children deserve access to sufficient healthy food, so they can learn, play, and thrive,” said Gerri Mason Hall, Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation Chair and Chief Human Resources Officer, Sodexo North America.
ASYMCA Branches provide nutritional resources like food pantries, neighborhood fresh food exchanges, and healthy food at child development centers, camps and after-school programs. The new Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation funding extends financial support to child development programs located at two additional major military installations, Fort Bliss, in Texas, supported by ASYMCA El Paso, and Fort Sill, in Oklahoma, supported by ASYMCA Lawton.
Food insecurity is prevalent in military families and increases the risk of health conditions that may impact military readiness. (Public Health Nutrition, March 15, 2016) With Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation’s support, ASYMCA will further its efforts to teach military families about making healthful food choices, growing fresh vegetables and fruit at home and at ASYMCA’s community gardens, and attending healthy cooking classes. These experiences contribute to the well-being of military families, which is vital to the success of our junior enlisted service members.
“Access to quality, affordable child care is a critical enabler to military spouse employment, which can reduce food insecurity,” said ASYMCA President and CEO Bill French. “The grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation helps us provide this valuable program to young military families.”
Sodexo has supported ASYMCA’s focus areas of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility programs for fifteen years. Last year, the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation funded programs supporting more than 15,900 low to moderate income military children and family members in El Paso, Texas, and San Diego, California. Parents and children were provided healthy meals, taught healthy choices through such tools as low-cost recipe cards, and mobilized to volunteer at their community garden or food exchange.
“There is nothing better than feeding families,” said Carol Herrick, Executive Director of ASYMCA Lawton. “This gift from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will not only provide opportunities to prevent hungry children, but to educate families on how to grow and cook nutritious meals at home. The impact of that is tremendous!”
“With the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation’s support, we will help transform the lives of thousands of military children and military families,” said Joe Pritchard, Executive Director of ASYMCA El Paso. “The additional funds will allow us to help young military families change their approach to nutrition and health, which will strengthen those families.”
The Armed Services YMCA has served military members and their families for more than 150 years, dating back to the Civil War. In 2017, the ASYMCA supported over 250,000 registrants, offering more than 1.3 million points of service to junior enlisted Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen along with their family members at 200 service centers in 18 states. The Armed Services YMCA, serving 75 military installations, is able to expand and further that service through the continued support of foundations and organizations like the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation.
The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation works with and through partners to help end childhood hunger in the United States because no child should be hungry today or risk being hungry again tomorrow. Sodexo, Inc., which funds all administrative costs, and the nonprofit Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, mobilize experts, innovators, volunteers and donors to feed children; to advocate for policies to end childhood hunger; and to implement innovative potential solutions, particularly those designed by youth. In 2017, Sodexo contributed over 154,000 in volunteer hours and since 1996 has leveraged nearly $32 million in grant dollars to help end childhood hunger.