Rays of joy

It was a sweltering 99 degrees, unusually warm for Dallas in late September. There wasn’t a single cloud in the sky and rays of sunlight covered the Buckner Children’s campus. It was the type of day where the slightest activity outside caused you to break out in a sweat.

But on Sept. 20, over 150 volunteers from Aramark poured over the grounds, working on projects to revitalize the campus in the glaring sun. The playground received a facelift as volunteers built and stained a new bridge to enter the play area. Murals were painted on the walls while other volunteers grabbed shovels and rakes, clearing brush and other debris to build an outdoor classroom.

Beads of sweat trickled down the foreheads of Aramark volunteers building picnic tables and wet towels were thrown over necks and heads to cool down while hammers pounded and sandpaper rubbed beams for a new obstacle course. In the midst of it all though, there were smiles. A multitude of smiles.  

“What is great about volunteering is our day-to-day can be overwhelming, but it’s great to have a day aside where you don’t have to think about anything else but what you’re doing here,” said Barbara Flanagan, Aramark vice president of higher education for the southern region. “That’s why I said I love this day because we literally have a project in front of us and you’re helping someone. I’m ecstatic that we as a company have dedicated today to help others.”

The Buckner campus was one of 10 locations nationwide chosen as part of Aramark’s “ABC Day” of service, where thousands of Aramark employees across the nation spend a day giving back to their communities.

“I don’t think we’ve seen this many people at one time volunteering on our campus,” said Albert Reyes, president and CEO of Buckner. “We are so encouraged seeing what Aramark has done for our campus. The projects they completed will leave a lasting impression for the children and families Buckner serves.”

In addition to the building and painting, volunteers put together snack packs for foster children and a team of 20 chefs and dieticians spent the day with Buckner families, educating and giving simple skills they need to live a healthy lifestyle.

“Buckner is doing really important work in the Dallas community and really supporting families of all ages so they can thrive and take care of themselves and live healthy and great lives,” said Bev Dribin, vice president of public affairs for Aramark. “We’ve gotten to know each other the last few years and we know it’s a great long-time partnership.”

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