The Heroes of Everyday Life® program was created to honor Sodexo employees who have demonstrated exemplary service to others in the fight against hunger. We are extremely proud of our Heroes. View all Heroes.
Tim MacTurk, District Manager, Universities, Albany, NY
A leader both at Sodexo and at home, Tim inspires his teams to contribute to the hunger fight. In 2010, Tim started a program to enable the food operations he oversees to rescue surplus food. Since then they have donated more than 50,000 pounds of food to local food banks. To raise awareness about food insecurity, Tim conceptualized and organized the annual Mindful Mile and Fight Hunger 5K at University at Albany. This raised $11,000 to help thousands of food-insecure New Yorkers.
At home, Tim’s daughter joins him every Sunday to volunteer at the food bank to teach them that we should help others when possible. Recently, Tim also rounded up 40 of his swim club members to volunteer for two days at the food bank as part of a “Swimming and Giving” program.
Debbie Petitpain, Wellness Dietitian, The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston, SC
Debbie joined the hunger fight after learning that 22 percent of South Carolina children were food insecure. As a dietitian, she knew she had a unique way to contribute to that fight—through education. She taught a cultural-based cooking series to teach at-risk community members about healthy eating. The series also included weekly health screenings. In addition, she worked with the local Meals on Wheels to provide meals to patients who are not able to prepare meals for themselves after hospital discharge.
Most recently, she established the first hospital USDA Summer Feeding Service Program in the Southeast with the Kids Eat Free program at the Medical University of South Carolina. The program has provided 2,385 summer meals to kids in need. In fact, Debbie developed a toolkit to help the USDA bring the program to healthcare institutions across the country.
Bernard Wood, Area General Manager, Venable LLP, Washington, DC
Over the last 12 years, Bernard has dedicated himself to helping DC Central Kitchen, an organization that provides 5,000 meals per day to DC-area shelters. Bernard has donated 22,000 pounds of surplus food to DC Central Kitchen and has helped prepare more than 20,000 balanced meals for DC’s homeless. Once, Bernard heard that an entire delivery truck’s worth of food was about to be thrown away. He successfully rerouted the truck to DC Central Kitchen, which happily accepted $23,000 worth of food from the truck.
Bernard’s work does not stop at food donations. He serves on the DC Central Kitchen Board of Directors, has hosted more than 100 interns and hired more than 30 at Sodexo accounts. In addition, he regularly donates professional clothing to students for job interviews.
Lagrina Denise Simmons, Food Service Worker, Georgia Tech Retail, Atlanta, GA
Twice a week every week for more than two decades, Lagrina has been preparing food, boxing it up and personally distributing 50 meals each week to help feed the homeless in her community. In all that time, Lagrina has spent more than 9,360 hours volunteering and has prepared more than 52,000 meals to help those in need.
Lagrina’s efforts have inspired those around her, and she regularly recruits fellow Sodexo employees and friends to help her. Over 25 volunteers have become a regular part of her efforts. Moreover, approximately 30,000 homeless individuals have been helped by Lagrina’s generosity over 20 years of service.
Jennifer Lovejoy, Custodian, Monroe Public Schools, Monroe, OH
One cold winter day in 2000, a girl came to Jennifer’s church without a coat. Jennifer gave the girl her own coat. After that, she realized that there were a number of children in her church who didn’t have enough food or clothing. Jennifer wanted to help create a food pantry for the children. She convinced local citizens to donate a trailer, refrigerator and freezer to the church. She also raised $5,000 through singing, holding yard sales and washing cars. Sixteen years later, Jennifer continues to volunteer twice a month at the pantry, and helps anyone who comes through the doors. No one is turned away. The church’s pantry feeds and clothes hundreds of families throughout the year.
Jennifer also helps prepare and serve at quarterly church dinners for the community. For the last 16 years, Jennifer spends every Thanksgiving preparing and serving food for 150 families, so that others can have a home-cooked holiday meal.