In an effort to give back to the community, 12 Aramark team members from around the state of South Carolina volunteered to take part in Aramark Building Community Day, Sept. 20.
Brent Wustman, the BJU Dining General Manager of Aramark, said the team worked at Gateway House, a mental health resource that supports people with mental illness achieve independence.
According to Wustman, the team conducted a beautification project on the front of the Gateway building that included building raised flower bed gardens, adding potted plants, shrubs and removing old fences.
Randy Redlinger, executive director of Gateway and a BJU alumnus, said the newly-installed gardens include flowers and herbs, which can be used practically in the clubhouse’s kitchen.
“Brent was good about working with us to determine what herbs we could grow and bring in to actually use in our cooking process,” Redlinger said.
According to Redlinger, the area where the raised gardens were built was originally a designated private smoking area before Gateway went smoke-free.
“It helped us turn what was an unhealthy corner of our program into a corner of wellness and growth,” Redlinger said.
Wustman said Aramark chose the Gateway House project because of the close relationship between BJU Dining Services and Gateway’s work program.
“We have about 12 Gateway employees working for us at any given time throughout the day,” Wustman said.
“They’re a premium healthcare facility that is helping [the employees] get back into the swing of things, and we are actually their main location for that.”
Redlinger said the event helped enhance the relationship between Aramark and Gateway House.
“We got to share with them about our program which helped us continue to enrich our partnership together,” Redlinger said.
According to Wustman, Gateway employees may work for BJU Dining for up to two years.
“They usually work their way up from working in some place like [the Kalmbach room] to being a server or maybe eventually working in one of our retail locations,” Wustman said.
Throughout the years, over 80 BJU Dining Services employees have been Gateway members.
Jeremy McMahan, a Gateway staff member who has worked closely with Aramark for around five years expressed his gratitude for the Aramark partnership.
“We’re really grateful for Aramark,” McMahan said.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with them, and we’re grateful for what Aramark did outside to help beautify Gateway and help us continue to build a healthy environment.”
Wustman said he met with some former employees of BJU Dining Services while working at Gateway House.
“While we were there, I was actually able to meet quite a few people who used to work here and was able to see that they are all working someplace now and living independently,” Wustman said.
“They have moved on to the next level.”
According to an Aramark press release, Aramark Building Community Day gives Aramark team members opportunities around the globe to spread health and wellness education and encourage healthy lifestyles.
Aramark has recently launched Feed Your Potential 365, a campaign aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles among all consumers, families in underserved communities and Aramark’s customers, clients and employees.
As part of the campaign, Aramark established Feed Your Potential 365 Clubs around the country.
Aramark expects to connect with non-profit organizations around the world through its online curriculum promoting healthy food choices.