“We are the world. We are the children. We are the ones who make a brighter day. So let’s start giving…”

Hundreds of Atlanta-area children sang this famous song last week as a “thank you” performance to Sodexo, The Coca-Cola Company and other local partners who joined forces to stop child hunger in Atlanta. Sodexo held a special event on July 20 to celebrate our Feeding Our Future® program’s 4 millionth meal at the Andrew and Walter Young Family YMCA on Campbellton Road in Atlanta. 

As a father and president for the Schools segment at Sodexo, with close ties to the Atlanta area, this event and the Feeding Our Future program impacts me personally. During the school year, 21 million kids receive free and reduced-price meals; however, only 3.5 million have access to free summer meals. That means nearly 18 million children will miss out on a meal during the summer months. To help close that gap, Sodexo and The Coca-Cola Company partnered to take a proactive approach to fight childhood hunger and ensure Atlanta-area children have access to free and nutritious meals.

Through our  Feeding Our Future program, we began providing meals to Atlanta area children in 2002. To date, the program has delivered more than 162,000 free summer meals. With this event in Atlanta, we were also proud to announce that nationally, the program served its 4 millionth meal this summer. View the infographic.

To celebrate this milestone, we had a picnic and “Farmers Market”-themed outdoor event with entertainment, special VIP speakers, nutrition education opportunities and more. With the help of The Coca-Cola Company and other local partners, vendors and volunteers, the kids enjoyed free giveaways and fun activities. I, along with other Sodexo executives and volunteers, had the privilege to serve lunch to hundreds of YMCA campers. In addition, we had a number of distinguished supporters of this cause who spoke at the event. These included former Ambassador Andrew Young, Superintendent of Atlanta Public Schools Meria Carstarphen and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves. 

One in four Atlanta-area children are at risk of hunger due to food insecurity. Feeding programs like Feeding Our Future are critical in helping to curb this serious trend. We are thankful for the support of The Coca-Cola Company for working with us to serve the Atlanta community for the past seven summers since the inception of our collaboration on this initiative.

I encourage you to join the fight against childhood hunger and I look forward to celebrating our next milestone together.

To learn more about Sodexo’s innovative approach to fighting hunger or how you can get involved, please visit our Feeding The Movement page.

Here are some highlights of this wonderful event:

Stephen Dunmore is president for the Schools segment at Sodexo, overseeing the work of teams at nearly 500 K–12 partner organizations nationwide. He also serves on the Boards of Sodexo Foundation and Youth Service America.