Baltimore, MD, July 1, 2009 – East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) will receive much-needed aid from hard-working volunteers from ARAMARK, the global professional services company. This new relationship with EBDI, a private nonprofit that is positively transforming more than 88 acres of East Baltimore, is part of ARAMARK Building Community, an initiative that fosters long-term support for local community centers in more than 25 cities.
On Thursday, July 23, more than 125 ARAMARK employee volunteers from the greater Baltimore region will participate in a day of service. Volunteers will create a new workforce readiness room in EBDI’s Community Resource Center and revitalize the makeshift school currently being used by the community while construction of the East Baltimore Community School is underway.
At the Community Resource Center, the hub of EBDI, the workforce readiness room will complement the organization’s efforts to equip residents with the skills needed to obtain meaningful employment. The school will receive an outdoor classroom and playground area to make it feel more like an established part of the community and provide the children with an enhanced and alternative learning environment. The company is also hosting a community children’s book drive (June 22 – July 23) to collect new and slightly used children’s books to help stock the new book shelves they are creating for the resource center and school.
“East Baltimore used to be one of the most challenged areas of Baltimore, and our organization strives to better the neighborhood for the long term,” said Chris Shea, interim CEO of EBDI. “Partnerships like this with ARAMARK are how we continue to move toward our goal of providing community residents with the skills, information and resources they need to benefit from new housing, employment, business and educational opportunities.”
The current economic landscape places more importance on community centers than ever before. Community centers are on the front lines in addressing some of our nation’s most pressing social issues, including poverty, education, joblessness, obesity, youth development and caring for aging seniors.
“At a time when many may be considering cutting back on volunteer resources because of the recession, ARAMARK Building Community demonstrates our continued commitment to our communities,” said Liza Cartmell, President, ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment and local ARAMARK Building Community executive sponsor. “It’s important that we support organizations such as EBDI that are doing the hard work of ensuring individuals have the resources and tools they need to support their families and gain self-sufficiency in a healthy and safe environment.”
According to a November 2008 poll conducted by International Communications Research* on behalf of ARAMARK, 61 percent of Americans believe that the role community centers play will be more important than ever in the current economic climate. Of the services that community centers provide, respondents believe that access to basics like food and clothing, affordable childcare and preschool, job training and after school programs are the most important services offered, though the order of what is most important varies by age, region, education and race. Respondents also believe that community centers have a great opportunity to generate support from non-members by educating the general public about the services they provide in their local neighborhoods.
The enhancement project at EBDI, and others across the country, reinforces ARAMARK’s commitment to volunteer service and supports “United We Serve,” a national effort launched by President Obama to engage more Americans in serving their communities this summer. United We Serve focuses on four key areas: education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal.
The ongoing partnership with EBDI will enable ARAMARK employees to support and provide expertise related to health and wellness, workforce readiness and basic services, as well as job skills to enhance and strengthen the center’s existing programs. Already scheduled for later this summer is EBDI’s Family Fun Day, sponsored by ARAMARK. This health and wellness educational event on August 22 will include an “ARAMARK Building Community Eat Smart Zone,” where ARAMARK chefs will provide healthy cooking demonstrations and dietitians will offer one-on-one consultation to event participants on strategies for living healthier lifestyles. To keep the health and wellness initiative going beyond the August event, ARAMARK experts will host monthly healthy cooking and nutrition workshops with children and families.
*The study was conducted for ARAMARK via telephone by International Communications Research, an independent research company. Interviews were conducted November 7-11, 2008 among a representative sample of 1017 adults aged 18 years or older. The margin of error is +/-3.07% at the 95% confidence level. More information about ICR can be obtained by visiting www.icrsurvey.com
About East Baltimore Development Inc.
Founded in 2003, East Baltimore Development Inc. (EBDI) is a unique organization that brings together the community, business and government leaders to revitalize 88 acres in East Baltimore in a way that will address the physical, economic and human conditions of the neighborhood. EBDI’s commitment to “responsible development” makes it a pioneer in positive urban redevelopment in America.
About ARAMARK Building Community
ARAMARK Building Community enriches the lives of families in need by supporting local community centers to help people of all generations learn, earn and thrive. ARAMARK recognizes the important role community centers play in addressing the comprehensive needs of individuals and families and is providing a range of resources including grants, volunteers and in-kind contributions. Through ARAMARK Building Community, volunteers will use their expertise to help youth and adults develop critical, employable work skills and connect them to career opportunities; support families with nutrition and wellness education; provide basic needs such as food and clothing; and help identified partners run cleaner, safer and more efficient facilities to enhance and strengthen the Center’s programs on an ongoing basis.
ARAMARK is a leader in professional services, providing award-winning food services, facilities management, and uniform and career apparel to health care institutions, universities and school districts, stadiums and arenas, and businesses around the world. In FORTUNE magazine's 2009 list of "World's Most Admired Companies," ARAMARK was ranked number one in its industry, consistently ranking since 1998 as one of the top three most admired companies in its industry as evaluated by peers and analysts. ARAMARK seeks to responsibly address issues that matter to its clients, customers, employees and communities by focusing on employee advocacy, environmental stewardship, health and wellness, and community involvement. Headquartered in Philadelphia, ARAMARK has approximately 260,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at www.twitter.com/aramarknews.
Emily Donohue, Allison & Partners
Sheila Young, Vice President of Development
410-396-6648 ext. 250