April 1st is special for a number of reasons: April Fool’s Day; opening day for Major League Baseball; and now it’s officially recognized as the start of Sodexo Servathon!
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley issued a formal proclamation this year, saluting Servathon and Sodexo’s important work fighting hunger in local communities.
Servathon is Sodexo’s largest employee engagement initiative in North America and around the world. Last year 40,000 employees in 35 countries got involved in the fight against hunger.
This year, I’m afraid the need is as great as ever. 50 million Americans, including more than 16 million children, don’t have enough to eat.
Since improving quality of life is important to Sodexo, it just makes sense that we ask employees to get involved in service projects in their communities to help fight hunger.
This year we’re asking employees to include youth in their service efforts too. I’ve found that today’s generation of youth is amazingly public-service oriented, and usually very eager to help those in need.
Involving kids also helps raise awareness around the issue of hunger, and helps ensure a strong pipeline of future leaders and volunteers in the fight against hunger. I encourage everyone to think about the young people in their life and find easy but effective ways for them to help out.
He’s done it before and he knows that poverty persists in every county and just about every school. My son is student teaching in a high school now, and he told me he has seen how hard it is for students to study when they are hungry. Having my son alongside me for Servathon was a special experience.
Need some thought-starters on how to mobilize youth to tackle the massive issue of hunger? Here are just a few simple ideas:
- Block-out some time; whatever you can spare, minutes, hours or more and prepare or serve meals at a soup kitchen or sort food at a local food bank.
- Take the No Kid Hungry Pledge, and ask young people in your life to take the pledge with you.
- Raise funds or collect food to donate in your community.
- Visit No Kid Hungry 2 for cool ideas on how to involve youth.
Robert A. Stern is senior vice president and general counsel for Sodexo, Inc. and president of Sodexo Foundation, which supports innovative programs to help children and families in the United States who are at-risk of hunger.