Last night Sodexo held its Stop Hunger Foundation dinner at Headlingley Stadium in Leeds. A total of over £144,000 was raised on the night and will go to projects tackling food insecurity and its root causes.
Sodexo is the founding partner of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation. In the UK & Ireland, the Foundation (a UK registered charity) works with national and local charity partners to donate time, skills and money to tackle food insecurity and its root causes, and help empower women – who represent the biggest opportunity in eliminating hunger.
The dinner was hosted by Sean Haley, CEO Sodexo UK & Ireland and Stop Hunger Trustee, Gareth John, European Director of Sodexo Legal Affairs and Chair of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation and Matt Dawson, Sodexo ambassador, broadcaster and rugby world cup winner.
Venue host Sodexo Live! welcomed 440 guests from Sodexo’s suppliers and client organisations, as well as its employees from across its business, the driving force behind the Foundation’s activities. During the dinner Sodexo’s Global Food Safety Director and Head of Food Safety in the UK&I, Julie Wagner shared her experience about the skills-based volunteering opportunity she undertook with Stop Hunger and the World Food Programme humanitarian mission in Jordan.
Guests also heard from Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, who as a key charity partner for the last 15 years shared the impact of the Foundation’s financial contributions and the crucial role volunteers play to enable the charity to redistribute food to vulnerable groups across the UK.
Sean Haley, CEO Sodexo UK & Ireland and Stop Hunger Foundation trustee said: “Over the last year our colleagues across the UK and Ireland have gone over and above in their commitment to fundraising, enabling us to provide valuable financial support to help benefit the communities in which we live and work.
“But it is not just a financial contribution we’ve made, our volunteering programme allows every Sodexo colleague to take up to three volunteering days a year and between September 2021 and August 2022 our colleagues recorded an amazing 4,443 hours volunteering with our charity partners and helping out in their local communities.
“Volunteering is something I personally try to do as much as I can. Earlier this year I spent a day with the Yorkshire Children’s Centre where I got to meet some of the young people to talk to them about the world of work and share with them the wide range of opportunities that organisations like ours can offer.”
In addition to raising money, the dinner enabled Sodexo to celebrate and recognise the efforts of its employees who every year take the time to organise fundraising events and to volunteer with Stop Hunger. Three awards were given out during the evening. These went to:
- Charity Champion of the Year: Beverley Clough from Sodexo’s service operations team.
- Commitment to Volunteering: Sodexo Government’s team at Larkhill Garrison.
- Community Programme: Sodexo Engage (Sodexo’s benefits and rewards business)
In 2022 monies raised through the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation benefited 13 charities, helping to improve the lives of some 1,140,397 beneficiaries and enabling 19,143 meals to be distributed. In 2022, 33% of the grants made by the charity focussed on projects supporting individuals to sustainably exit food insecurity. The remaining of the funds went to address the immediate impact of food insecurity.
Charity partners receiving a Stop Hunger grant in 2022 included National charity organisations FareShare, The Trussell Trust, SSAFA, Chapter One and Enactus UK and local charity partners Made in Hackney, Focus Ireland, CoFarm, Yorkshire Children’s Centre and The Bread and Butter Thing.
Due to pressures such as rising food and energy prices the Stop Hunger Foundation also provided an additional one-off 10% of grant funding to a number of its partner charities in January 2023.
Gareth John, European Director of Sodexo Legal Affairs and Chair of the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation added: “Stop Hunger’s story is founded on great partnerships between charitable organisations, passionate colleagues and Sodexo suppliers, and clients working together to benefit the places where we live and work.
“Stop Hunger activities aren’t limited to a food related project or a day at a food bank; this can also include opportunities that support the prevention of individuals needing to rely on emergency food packages and addressing the root causes of food insecurity, like mentoring, job-skills, cookery classes, skills-based volunteering and much more.
“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved this year and we continue to review and evolve the Stop Hunger strategy to ensure the Foundation provides support where it’s needed.”
Stop Hunger is an employee-led Sodexo initiative active in over 40 countries around the world. Thanks to the financial support of Sodexo, 100% of the donations made to Stop Hunger go directly to financing activities and sustainable solutions for disadvantaged communities to exit food insecurity.
Stop Hunger’s strategy, including fundraising and volunteering efforts form part of Sodexo’s regional Social Value strategy, its ethical manifesto for leading the way to improve quality of life for society and our planet. The Foundation’s work also contributes to the Sodexo global corporate responsibility programme, Better Tomorrow 2025. And to the Sustainable Development Goals designed by the UN to make the world a fairer and more equal place.