Ensuring healthy meals for families in San Diego, Calif., El Paso, Tx.Sodexo Foundation's commitment to the military took the form of a $50,000 grant to the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) to help fund food programs at branches in San Diego, Calif., and El Paso, Tx.
Across the country, each year, ASYMCA provides food programs serving hundreds of children, military members and family members every day. Sodexo Foundation's investment in these families will provide support to about 35,000 people at Fort Bliss and about 50,000 in the greater San Diego area.
ASYMCA San Diego
San Diego County is home to the largest concentration of military personnel in the country, with over 100,000 active duty service members stationed in the region, in addition to all of their family members. One out of every seven members of the Navy and one out of every four members of the Marine Corps is stationed in San Diego. To help alleviate hunger, the San Diego branch created the Neighborhood Exchange Program (NEX), which works in collaboration with the San Diego Food Bank and the Smart Food Foundation. The NEX provides services about 240 military families per month and is set up much like a family friendly farmer's market with a focus on nutrition and includes fresh fruits and vegetables. Each family is provided with enough basics to meet their monthly nutrition needs. NEX has music, rotating monthly educational booths showcasing other community services, and fun activities to create a safe, enjoyable space while alleviating hunger for our military families. Recipe books that give sample ideas for meals to prepare using the specific foods available are provided to the families. Resources at the NEX, are available for families that meet specific requirements.
ASYMCA El Paso
The ASYMCA El Paso branch supports Fort Bliss, with an installation population of more than 35,000 military service members and about 60,000 family members. The ASYMCA El Paso Branch runs year-round meal programs to include meals, snacks and education on healthy eating and physical activity -- a program called HEPA (Healthy Eating and Physical Activity). HEPA teaches children how to make healthy food choices and to enjoy physical activities that contribute to their social and physical well-being development. This past summer more than 14,000 meals and snacks were served.
Sodexo Foundation's donation will provide a safe enriching learning environment for children who otherwise might be alone at home owing to the family challenges of affording summer or extra-curricular after-school programs. Sodexo also assists with the needs of children who face hunger in the summer months and homework assistance during the school year, as they are provided with nutritional meals and snacks, promoting children to be active and learn about healthy habits.
The Sodexo Foundation understands the basic food and health needs children and families face. With Sodexo’s support, the ASYMCA will help transform the lives of military children and military families, providing nutritional food options, paired with programming that inspires youth engagement and nurtures nutritional education.