Sodexo and Youth Service America Award Grants for Global Youth Service Day

Stephen Dunmore
About the author : Stephen Dunmore

CEO North America Schools at Sodexo

Published on : 4/22/22

Of the 38 million people in the U.S. who experienced food insecurity in 2021, 13 million were children. Studies have shown that 76% of kids regularly come to school hungry. Starting the day hungry creates a snowball effect that leads to lack of motivation, inability to concentrate, behavioral problems, illness and poor academic performance.

Childhood hunger is a pervasive problem that a single organization cannot solve alone. The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation is proud to work with longstanding partner Youth Service America (YSA) to address this critical issue. YSA is a global nonprofit organization that encourages young people to find their voice, take action and acquire skills as they work to solve problems in their communities. YSA supports youth leaders with grants, training and resources that help them develop and implement ideas for fighting hunger and creating meaningful change in their communities.

As a board member of YSA and Sodexo’s CEO of Schools, I’m passionate about the issue of childhood hunger. There is clear evidence that proper nutrition impacts children’s ability to thrive and learn, which ultimately influences their long-term success in life. As community members and organizational leaders, we are responsible for caring for young people. We must empower students to harness their passion and creativity to become future problem solvers.

Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and YSA have partnered to award $500 grants for Global Youth Service Day projects. The grants are awarded to 100 youth leaders ages 5-25 across the U.S. who are driven to end childhood hunger through innovative projects and events.

Projects can vary in size and scope, but they share the common goal of eradicating hunger within the community. For example, Anna Sun in Canton, MI hosted “Healthy Eating on a Budget” learning events at Gleaners Community Food Bank and Forgotten Harvest in Detroit. ZaNia Stinson hosted “Go-Go Bags Project” in Charlotte, NC, providing bags filled with food, snacks and toiletries to homeless and hungry community members.

The youth leaders’ projects typically occur between March 1 and May 31, culminating with Global Youth Service Day, which in 2022 runs from Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1. Global Youth Service Day encourages youth leaders to help communities work together toward a common goal, while recognizing the impact they make every day of the year. It is the largest youth service and civic action event in the world.

Global Youth Service Day coincides with Sodexo’s Servathon event, the company’s service-focused initiative to end hunger. Servathon is a worldwide volunteer event that encourages employees to support the Stop Hunger mission throughout April and May. Servathon brings employees and communities together through fundraisers, food drives and other hands-on volunteering events.

Sodexo and YSA’s partnership empowers youth leaders to make a difference in their communities. Over the course of this 11-year partnership, young changemakers have impacted more than 1 million people. These students are finding fun and engaging ways to inspire community involvement, bring awareness to the issue of childhood hunger and strengthen efforts to ensure all children have the nutrition they need to lead healthy, happy lives.