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The Heroes of Everyday Life® program was created to honor those who have demonstrated exemplary service to others in the fight against hunger. Our Heroes of Everyday Life are recognized at the annual Sodexo Foundation Dinner for their contribution to help many of the 50 million people at risk of hunger in the United States.
|Angel L. Gonzalez
Housekeeper at Campbell Soup Company, Camden, NJ
In Camden, NJ, where 55 % of the residents live in poverty, Angel Gonzalez is a critical resource to his community. Four years ago, Angel became involved with My Brother’s Keeper/Save Our Youth, a Camden-based organization that works with homeless men, women and children, and assists with all of the meal services the organization provides. During his time volunteering, Angel has helped distribute more than 60,000 meals. As a dedicated volunteer, Angel devotes about 15 hours each week to prepping and serving food, as well as cleaning up after meals. Not only does Angel devote hours each week to My Brother’s Keeper, he has also helped the meal service programs evolve to become more nutritionally balanced. Angel recently graduated from the Cathedral Kitchen program and has brought his culinary arts training to My Brother’s Keeper, where he provides direction to the kitchen staff.
|Kerwin M. Higashi
Vice President, Education - Campus, Redmond, WA
Kerwin Higashi cofounded the Vertically Integrated Partnership (VIP) in 2008 with the goal of fighting hunger in the Pacific Northwest. Under Kerwin’s leadership, VIP has donated more than three million pounds of food to the hungry in the past three years. Kerwin has been a key contributor to the success of the VIP, serving as co-chair and encouraging growth in the partnership, and coordinating donations and volunteers. He has consistently motivated hundreds of Sodexo volunteers to assist in repacking efforts at several local food banks including Food Lifeline, where he currently serves on the Board of Directors.
Vice President, Corporate, Willowbrook, IL
Since 2002, Patty Johnson has been an active member of the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Board of Directors and a significant donor, volunteer and avid food industry supporter. Through her volunteer work, she has personally distributed nearly 15,000 pounds of food, and contributed or helped secure donations of more than $54,000. Beginning in 2008, Patty enlisted a Sodexo staff member to train four Servsafe sanitation classes annually at the Food Depository and provided insight into ongoing program development. Since then, 77 students and 20 Food Depository staff members have passed the course and are certified.
Marketing Coordinator at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA
Lucas Minor’s dedication to service is evident in his prolific volunteer work. He donates a significant portion of his time and energy to the local food bank, and mentors a local boy through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. For the last three years, he has served as a team leader for his volunteer crew and works tirelessly to sort and distribute food donations on a weekly basis. Through his work at Sodexo, Lucas coordinated the Sodexo Helping Hands Across America food drive this year collaborating with a student group, Veterans Outreach Center and Residential Life. Together, they collected over one thousand pounds of food for the community’s homeless veterans.
Senior Instructional Designer, Sodexo University, Carrolton, TX
Inspired by a stranger’s act of generosity, Julia Pipkins has been working for more than a decade to help families and children facing hunger. She has helped over 700 low-income families through her own initiative and her work with the Voice of Hope, an organization that provides children living in the neighborhoods of West Dallas with strong character models, education support, life skills, and family support services needed to become productive Christian citizens. Julia has organized volunteers, created food drives, solicited donations, and provided school supplies for hundreds of children. Julia also understands the importance of breaking the poverty cycle, and has donated numerous hours of her time to counseling youth in juvenile detention centers and teaching English as a second language in her community. View Julia's story.
|Frances M. Williams
Cook at PNC Bank, Philadelphia, PA
Frances Williams is the founder and president of Do Over Ministry, a labor of love she established with the sole purpose of providing meals, clothing, and emotional support for those stricken with poverty. In addition to providing food, Frances and the Do Over Ministry offer clothing, career guidance, education, nutritional counseling, and more. Over the last four years, the Ministry has grown from a one-woman effort into a force of over 80 volunteers serving more than 2,000 meals each year, all through Frances’ passion and drive. Since the Ministry’s inception, Frances has recruited approximately 50 Sodexo employees to volunteer at events, dinner preparations, and food and clothing donation drives.
General Manager at Beaver Area School District, Beaver, PA
Ryan Wilson’s mission to help the hungry is a personal one that began with an open mind and an eagerness to help. Since beginning his work as a STOP Hunger Champion in 2008, Ryan has successfully coordinated many programs working with his food service staff, the Salvation Army, and his local food bank to serve those in need in his community. In addition to his time and monetary contributions, Ryan worked to establish programs such as the Summer Food Service Program and Backpack Food Program in his community. The food drives and donations he has organized have provided more than 54,000 meals to families and children in need.
General Manager at Landon School, Bethesda, MD
Charmion Wood has put her culinary skills to work through her volunteer efforts that support the old adage, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Charmion is the General Manager of Campus Services at the Landon School in Bethesda, MD, and since 2004, has been an integral part of the Capital Area Food Bank’s volunteer team. Charmion serves as a Chef Instructor for twelve Cooking Matters courses that bring cooking skills and nutrition information to low-income populations that are at risk of going hungry. To date, she has volunteered for a total of twelve courses – 288 hours in all. Not only does she volunteer at the Capital Area Food Bank throughout the year, but she also gives back even on vacation. Since 1995, she has spent two days each year volunteering at the Salt Lake City homeless shelter during their Christmas Holiday Radiothon.