By Jim Balfanz, President of City Year
Jim has been a long-time supporter of City Year’s national partnership with Aramark, helping to deepen and grow our partnership over time around a shared commitment to service, and to transforming the communities where we live and work. As the Co-founding Executive Director of City Year Greater Philadelphia, Jim also saw the direct impact of Aramark’s commitment throughout the Philadelphia community.
Volunteering to support local communities can be a powerful way to bring people together from different backgrounds and neighborhoods, to get people to roll up their sleeves and work side-by-side with one common purpose: to give back. As we celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. Day, we are reminded of MLK’s lessons and his simple, yet powerful statement: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Aramark is a company that has recognized service to the community as an important way to engage their employees more deeply with their values. One of the many ways that Aramark strengthens communities is by lending the expertise and skills of their 270,000 associates around the world.
On MLK Day last week, Aramark employees served in communities across the country. In Philadelphia, Aramark volunteers and their families helped create a healthy learning environment at the Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School through painting inspirational murals and making benches for the gymnasium and the playground.
“Aramark has transformed the lives of Philadelphia community members through their commitment to the community,” said Darryl Bundrige, Executive Director, City Year Philadelphia. “Anyone who has served with Aramark employees knows they show up early, work through lunch and ask what more they can do at the end of the day.”
As part of Aramark Building Community, the company’s global volunteer and philanthropic program, the company is empowering people to succeed through education and employment and inspiring families to lead healthier lives in partnership with local community centers. Throughout the year, employees participate in volunteer opportunities on the local level to truly live the company’s mission to enrich and nourish lives.
“I choose to work here because Aramark’s community investment is important to me,” said Jennifer Bingham-May, Human Resource Manager at Aramark in Maplewood, Minnesota. “I love that there is a high level of Aramark leadership participating in days of service, because it's an expectation of who we are as a culture. It helps remind us that we’re a part of something bigger, and that’s huge.”
Employees also bring this commitment to life on Aramark Building Community Day (ABC Day) each year.
“ABC Day is an opportunity to leverage and ramp up energy for the next 364 days to keep the momentum going,” said David C. Stevens, Manager of Technology Assessment and Capital Planning at Aramark in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is simply awesome. It's also great to interact with peers outside the work environment, to go out and help people, because there’s a bond that comes with volunteering. You can really get to know someone’s heart. It also gives us the chance to look back at how we gave back to the community, and see how we can do more.”
On ABC Day this past fall, Aramark employees supported more than 300 projects in 15 countries, impacting hundreds of thousands of individuals and families. Together with City Year, more than 8,000 Aramark employees volunteered their time and served more than 35,000 hours impacting more than 500,000 community members.
Together, City Year and Aramark partner to inspire civic service and provide meaningful volunteer opportunities that enrich and nourish the lives of individuals and families.