2019 HEROES OF EVERYDAY LIFE®

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.

Abdou M. Cole, District Manager, University of Pittsburgh, Universities; Pittsburgh, Penn.

Abdou has a 25-year history of volunteerism in the Pittsburgh area. As District Manager for University of Pittsburgh, he sees the hidden hunger crisis among college students every day. To help address that crisis, Abdou volunteers and raises money for Pitt Pantry, the on-campus food bank, which provides 500 meals each month.

He also helps increase the number of student advocates and volunteers, known as “Food Recovery Heroes.” These volunteers have helped recover over 28,000 pounds of food since 2014. He coordinates donations from students who give extra funds from their meal plans to the on-campus pantry. These efforts earned Abdou the rare combination of praise from both the Student Government President and university administration officials.

For the past 13 years, Abdou has spent one week of his vacation time working with Salvation Army and University of Pittsburgh’s Community Affairs department to organize an annual Christmas dinner to feed over 2,500 people experiencing homelessness.

The $5,000 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support Pitt Pantry at University of Pittsburgh.

Ben Hartley, Resident District Manager, Northern Arizona University, Universities; Flagstaff, Ariz.

For more than 35 years, Ben’s volunteerism grew in tandem with his Sodexo career, as he progressed from Dishwasher to Resident District Manager. At every location and in every role he’s held at Sodexo, Ben always finds time and opportunities to give back to his community.

Ben has volunteered and served on the Board of Directors for the Flagstaff Family Food Center. At work at Northern Arizona University, Ben champions on-campus food recovery, donating over 4,000 pounds of food each semester. Ben understands one way to end hunger is to help the most vulnerable among us – like our homeless veterans.

Ben engaged over one hundred Sodexo employees to cook and serve lunch at “Stand Down” events in 2018 and earlier this year. His leadership on these events resulted in Sodexo’s recognition as “Business Partnership of the Year” by the Arizona Housing Coalition.

The $5,000 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the on-campus food pantry, Louie’s Cupboard, funded by the Northern Arizona University Foundation.

Steven F. Quintern, Environmental Services Manager, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hospitals; Buffalo, N.Y.

Steven knows the value of second chances. He shares his experience as a recovering addict – with 20 years’ sobriety – to offer hope and encouragement to people currently experiencing homelessness and hunger. For the past ten years, Steven feeds the bodies – and the souls – of 80 people each week at the Charity Baptist Mission. 

Each week, Steven assists with meal preparation and service. The Mission provides food, clothing, warmth, and fellowship year-round. His dedication to volunteerism serves as a model, encouraging his colleagues also to give back to their communities.

The $5,000 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support feeding programs at Charity Baptist Church.

Wendy Smith, Clinical Nutrition Manager, MedStar Montgomery Medical Center, Hospitals; Olney, Md.

Eating healthy is a challenge for most of us. It’s even harder on an extremely tight budget. That’s where Wendy comes in. Wendy started her volunteer work at Manna Food Center conducting Cooking Matters® grocery store tours educating low-income families to make healthy food choices by reading and understanding food nutrition labels and providing tips for getting the healthiest choice for their money.
Wendy has served on Manna’s Board of Directors since 2014 and for the past four years has organized monthly volunteer nights pre-sorting food at Manna Food Center with her colleagues at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.

Wendy is passionate about raising much needed funds to carry out Manna’s mission and volunteers her time through Stop Hunger initiatives at her workplace. With support of the hospital’s leadership team, Wendy and her colleagues have donated over 1,200 pounds of food and raised $16,000 in the past four years.

The $5,000 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support Manna Food Center.

Francine Patricia Walter, Finance Administrator for Keiser University, Universities; West Palm Beach, Fla.

Francine understands the connection between homelessness and hunger. For the past two years, she’s years, she’s volunteered three times a week. These weekly volunteer efforts transformed her feelings of sympathy to ones of empathy and respect for people experiencing homelessness. As a result, she is working to end the stigma too often associated with homelessness and hunger.

Each week, Francine provides 250 people with food and quality time. And now gets students from her workplace at Keiser University involved too. She’s known for her burritos and PB&J sandwiches – and for always having a spare set of socks or a t-shirt for someone who needs them.

The $5,000 grant from Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support feeding programs at South Florida Sanctuary, Inc.