The Heroes of Everyday Life® program was created to honor Sodexo employees who have demonstrated exemplary service to others in the fight against hunger. The Annual Application Period is January 1 - February 28.
We are extremely proud of our Heroes. View all Heroes.
Joanne Booth, Senior Manager, Health Care Value Analysis, Hospitals, Entegra; Oakland, ME
For the past 26 years, Joanne has served as a hands-on community advocate utilizing her skills and connections to help others. She has volunteered at numerous organizations and is an advocate for food insecure children.
She serves as a board member and long-standing volunteer stocking shelves at the Waterville Food Bank in Maine, an organization working to supply food to residents at risk of food insecurity. In addition, she has helped coordinate and participate in the Annual Kiwanis Children’s Health Safety Fair since 2007, where more than 200 children and families attend each year. She connects families to many resources related to food insecurity, simple nutrition, fitness, safety, and health related screening for children.
Joanne oversees the coordination of the Children’s Food Backpack programs at area elementary schools, providing non-perishable food for children to take home on weekends and school breaks. She also works with The Maine Children’s Home Friends Group mentoring the teenagers in her community who are working to finish school and care for young children. Joanne provides cooking classes and nutrition lessons to the young clients who are often food insecure and lack knowledge to eat and prepare healthy meals for their children.
Her passion for helping children knows no bounds and her decades of dedication to helping food insecure children and young families is a testament to her service spirit.
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the Northern Light Inland Hospital Food Insecurity Fund in Waterville, ME.
Barbara (Sue) Cottrill, Administrative Assistant, University of Central Missouri, Universities; Warrensburg, MO
Sue is a grassroots community advocate who uses her free time to help others in multiple ways. Since 2013, she has volunteered at Johnson County Food Center where she serves on the Board of Directors. The center serves around 1,300 individuals per month and is a main source of food in their rural community.
In her role, she is working on a policy and procedure manual to assist the organization’s staff with applying for grants and funding. She also produces the center’s monthly newsletter with nutritional information, recipes, how to use not so familiar food items, and other information for the clients. The center has a relationship with their local grocery store and Sue works to collect and sort leftover groceries at least twice a week and this helps provide fresh produce to the center’s clients.
In addition to her volunteer activities at the Food Center, she is also working with the Manna Harvest Feeding Project, and her church to provide emergency food items, clothing, plastic bags, pillows, blankets, tarps and sleeping mats for the homeless.
Her volunteer efforts span into her professional life, where she helps coordinate The University of Central Missouri’s food pantry to help food insecure students as well as service staff, engages Sodexo employees through a backpack program for pre-school children, and manages annual Servathon events including food collection, marketing, and recruiting volunteers.
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the Johnson County Missouri Food Center in Warrensburg, MO.
Jimmy Hamm, General Manager, SUNY Oneonta, Universities; Oneonta, NY
For the past 19 years, Jimmy has led and volunteered at numerous hunger-fighting organizations and events. At any given time, you can find him serving as a hands-on community volunteer for at least 10 different initiatives including serving holiday meals for more than 300 people, organizing donations to local soup kitchens, and creating unique fundraisers featuring local Sodexo chefs.
His creative approach to volunteering has been very successful in engaging his colleagues in the efforts, including CANstruction an event featuring elaborate displays of canned goods donated during food drives. Jimmy also manages the annual Stop Hunger 5k event which has helped to raise more than $20,000 for hunger fighting efforts in his community and helps fund a local backpack program at an elementary school.
Jimmy understands the struggles that college students face on campuses across the country. He works directly with his client to develop a program to support food insecure students. He also organizes cooking classes for students to help them understand budgeting, nutrition and basic cooking skills. Although he has touched the lives of more than 5,000 people in the Oneonta community, he remains humble and steadfast in his approach to make a difference.
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the Riverside Elementary PTO Backpack Program in Oneonta, NY.
Clifford Reece, Area General Manager, Waco ISD, School; Waco, TX
Having worked in K-12 food service for more than 30 years, Clifford saw first-hand the serious and tragic situation many school aged children face – living below the poverty line with food insecurity. This led him to co-found the McLennan County Pack of Hope, a robust backpack program which has grown to serve 20 school districts and more than 1,000 kids with weekly packs over the past nine years.
In addition to his daily responsibilities as a Sodexo Area GM, he spends three days a week organizing more than 80 volunteers and obtaining the up to 20 food items included in each pack. Cliff donates about 10 hours each week to the program, often before his workday begins.
Cliff has stressed that there is no way he could do any of this alone. He serves as the fearless leader for a dedicated group of volunteers including his Sodexo colleagues, community members, and students and staff from neighboring Baylor University.
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the McLennan County Pack of Hope in Waco, TX.
Kathleen Tisdale, Area General Manager, Walt Disney Word, Corporate Services; Orlando, FL
Kathleen’s service spirit is rooted in her personal experiences. She is dedicated to helping LGBTQ homeless youth in the Orlando, FL area because she knows firsthand what it is like to lack a good meal and a roof over your head. Her passion to serve comes directly from her past experience as a LGBTQ young person without daily meals or support.
She leads the Sodexo LGBTQ employee business resource group’s (PRIDE) volunteer efforts in Florida providing meals and shelf stable foods, serving as a mentor, and spending quality time with the young people affiliated with the Orlando-based Zebra Coalition, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ young people. Since 2017, she manages volunteer food drives and fundraisers to serve more than 500 community members, garnering the support of her colleagues, fellow EBRG members, vendors, and clients.
Her dedication to her community is not limited to just emergency food aid. She also serves as a mentor to the young people and works to connect them to professional opportunities within Sodexo, Sodexo Magic, and Sodexo clients. Many have said that they were not able to cope due to a lack of community and support. However, Kathleen’s kindness and guidance helped to shape their reality for the better.
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support the Zebra Coalition in Orlando, FL.
Melissa Turner, Catering Supervisor, Shenandoah University, Universities; Winchester, VA
Upon learning the news that she was chosen as a 2020 Hero of Everyday Life, Melissa was shocked because she is being honored for what comes naturally to her – serving her community. Her drive to volunteer and her selfless acts of kindness are the epitome of who she is as a person and she continues to help knowing that those in need can benefit from her efforts.
She serves on the advisory board for Bright Futures, a community program supporting school-age children with basic needs. When she is not working, she helps organize over 900 food packs for children to take over the weekend which ensures that they receive a meal when school is not in session.
Melissa serves as the treasurer and most recently as the public relations and event coordinator for Hood Love, a community organization working with low-income neighborhood members. She promotes volunteer opportunities and recruits her Sodexo colleagues to get involved and participate in giving back across the Shenandoah Valley.
Melissa attests that “there is no greater award then seeing the smile on a family’s face when you have provided them with the basic needs that we all take for granted."
The $5,000 grant from the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation will support The Salvation Army, Winchester Corps in Winchester, VA.