Memphis, TN, October 12, 2010 – Generational poverty plagues the city of Memphis. With poverty rates hovering at 24 percent, Memphis Mayor AC Wharton Jr. recently declared that, “poverty is Memphis’s defining crisis.” The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) has been working to transform the lives of families facing poverty to help them succeed. Serving about 60,000 residents each year, MIFA provides programs that support seniors, stabilize families, address homelessness and transform individual lives through workforce preparedness and educational opportunities.
ARAMARK will join MIFA in its important community service work with a sweeping inaugural project. Through ARAMARK Building Community, employee volunteers will use their professional expertise to improve interior and exterior environments populated by current and prospective clients, including homeless families and others in crisis situations.
“Sixty percent of the residents in our neighborhood live in poverty, making the area the poorest in the city and the second-poorest in the state,” said Margaret Craddock, MIFA executive director. “As the recession continues, we’re getting requests for help from people living outside the 38216 zip code from areas that are considered affluent. Requests for utility payment assistance are up 19 percent and rent assistance requests are up 27 percent over the recent last quarter of our fiscal year. It’s clear that people everywhere are struggling. Our relationship with ARAMARK will be instrumental in helping us respond to these increasing needs.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 13, ARAMARK will kick-off this new relationship when more than 100 employees dedicate their time, energy, and talents to enhancing the physical environment of MIFA. Volunteers will transform the grounds, facility and recreational areas to create a warm and welcoming place where children and adults can learn and grow.
Throughout the day of service ARAMARK employees will complete 19 projects, including:
- Enhancement of the MIFA/Lindenwood Christian Church Neighborhood Garden – Volunteers will install a brick pathway leading from the garden to MIFA residence areas, rebuild benches, construct a compost bin and landscape the entire area to create a vibrant environment where neighbors can plant their own vegetable and flower gardens;
- Environmental Improvements – Planting trees, building picnic tables, raised planter beds and a children’s sandbox; and
- Interior and Exterior Beautification – Painting 30 bright, inspirational murals to adorn the neighborhood garden and recreation area.
“ARAMARK recognizes the important role community centers play in helping families and individuals live healthy, productive lives,” Gary Crompton, president ARAMARK Business Dining and local ARAMARK Building Community executive sponsor. “Today is just the beginning of our collaboration. Our volunteers will work with MIFA staff to assure its success in helping change lives.”
”Life skills and educational programs are the most effective tools we have to help people lay the groundwork for future success,” said Craddock. ”ARAMARK is uniquely equipped to help us add new dimensions to these successful programs.”
The mission of ARAMARK Building Community is to support the important work of local community centers to help families succeed and achieve. This project and partnership with MIFA is part of a 40-city ARAMARK Building Community tour engaging thousands of employees in the U.S. and around the world in supporting local neighborhood centers and strengthening communities.
About Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association
MIFA (Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association) works to unite our diverse community to address the challenges of poverty. Since its founding in 1968, the organization has engaged the community to sustain the independence of seniors, transform the lives of families in crisis, and equip teens for success. For more information visit: http://www.mifa.org.
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. The company is recognized as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by the Ethisphere Institute, as the industry leader in FORTUNE magazine's "World's Most Admired Companies," and as one of America's Largest Private Companies by both FORTUNE and Forbes magazines. 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 255,000 employees serving clients in 22 countries. Learn more at www.twitter.com/aramarknews.
Allison & Partners