It is a Saturday morning, 7 AM during the winter; it is cold; I am serving a fresh hot breakfast on the streets of Washington D.C. Everyone receiving a meal with a smile on their face says “thank you”― my heart rejoices. Every time I go out to the streets to serve the homeless the most rewarding thing is to hear them say thank you!
This past week I was part of an event where I wasn’t the only one that has seen the need to help those that are hungry, myself along with 5 others were recognized by Sodexo Foundation as Heroes of Everyday Life® for serving in our communities in the fight against hunger.
Participating in Sodexo Foundation’s recognition event showed me the support and appreciation Sodexo has for people like me, who across the country are serving people in need. I also had the opportunity to visit Capitol Hill. I had seen it before, but this time I got to experience what the “Hill” is all about. I had the opportunity to share my story; why I am in the fight against hunger and my vision for the future. I visited my Congressman, Jim Moran, who welcomed me into his office not just for a picture, but to listen to what I had to say! I was able to invite him to join our group to take part in feeding the homeless with us. I was also able to visit Senator Warner, who had personally written me a letter thanking me for my efforts feeding the homeless. What an unforgettable opportunity!
The next night was the BIG night! I was able to share time with Sodexo Foundation supporters from other companies and our own at the dinner to raise funds for hungry children. The theme of the dinner was Too Small to Ignore.”
It was so refreshing to meet the Stephen J. Brady STOP Hunger Scholars that are making a difference in their communities and encouraging more youth to join in the cause to end hunger. This time together changed my perspective about Sodexo and the kind of company they are.
This special night took them to a whole different level! They really showed their commitment to the fight against hunger. We shined as Heroes that night. It was nice to be recognized for the work we do in private from our hearts and with love. I no longer feel like an employee, but part of an ending hunger family. Now, I am more motivated and have many more ideas to continue in the fight!
With a smile on my face, I want to say “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” to all of the partners of Sodexo Foundation for the support. I want to thank Sodexo for being a company with a heart to serve people in need. I also want to congratulate my fellow Heroes and the young Scholars for bringing food, love, hope, and much more to many families and children in need.
Let’s continue the fight, join us!
Daliana Gandarillas is a Sodexo Marketing Coordinator at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. As part of the recognition, Daliana will receive a $5,000 grant, presented in her name to the hunger-relief charity of her choice, Lucas 4:18 a branch of Reach and Touch Ministries Inc. Meet the 2013 Heroes and Scholars that were honored on June 6th at the 14th Annual Sodexo Foundation Dinner in Washington, D.C. at www.SodexoFoundation.org.