Published : Monday, January 1, 2018 | 10:32 AM
Over 90,000 fans are expected to be at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this New Year’s Day to witness the stadium’s biggest event of the year – when the Georgia Bulldogs take on the Oklahoma Sooners in the semifinal for the College Football Playoff.
After the Rose Bowl Game, the stadium’s concessions partner, SodexoMAGIC, a partnership with Magic Johnson Enterprises and food services and facilities management company Sodexo, will help feed hundreds in need when it donates remaining food items to the Pasadena Hot Meal Program just as it has done for the past seven years.
SodexoMAGIC will also donate a percentage of its sales to Pasadena area organizations that provide volunteers to help sell concessions on game day. Donations per game reach nearly $100,000. To date, SodexoMAGIC has donated nearly $600,000 annually.
“We rely on our community to help us deliver a great game day experience,” Kevin Hengehold, SodexoMAGIC General Manager at the Rose Bowl Stadium, said in a company press release.
Hengehold turns a three-person team into about a thousand each game, with the help of volunteers from high schools, churches and community groups, and 11 food and beverage venues into a showcase of about a hundred local restaurants and vendors.
“Donating a hot meal after each game gives us another opportunity to do our part and in a meaningful way,” he said
After each event, Hengehold signals Robin Salzer, founder of the Pasadena Hot Meal Program, to start backing up his van to the SodexoMAGIC warehouse at the stadium. Together with the SodexoMAGIC team, they fill the van will food items – hot dogs, hamburgers, pretzels, nacho chips and more.
The group has received as many as 1,500 hot dogs in a single donation at times. Salzer, who owns local restaurant Robin’s Woodfire Barbecue and is a featured vendor at the stadium for the past five years, said water bottles are the most appreciated item because Hot Meal Program patrons can take them home.
“SodexoMAGIC has been an integral part of the program since its inception,” said Salzer. “With their help, we are able to sustain our operation and feed thousands every year.”
Earlier in December, the Pasadena Hot Meal Program celebrated feeding over 125,000 low-income and homeless residents during the last seven years it has been helping the community.
The program was conceived in 2010 from a simple vision to help neighbors in need to a weekly event where between 100 and 200 hungry individuals on average are served balanced hot meals at the Jackie Robinson Community Center in Pasadena.
Salzer started the program as a collaboration with Walter Jackson, another Pasadena businessman. Jackson passed away in February 2016. During the program’s seventh anniversary in December, program volunteers and staff observed a minute of silence in his honor.
SodexoMAGIC’s commitment to the community is rooted in its partnership with Magic Johnson Enterprises, owned by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who has been a longtime supporter and investor in communities across the U.S. and Sodexo. The company was formed in 2006 to empower communities with best-in-class food and facilities management solutions, including menus drawing on the expertise of Celebrity Chef G Garvin and healthy solutions from health expert and author Dr. Ian Smith.
SodexoMAGIC recently celebrated its 10th anniversary and now has nearly 5,000 employees located across 49 clients and 1,600 sites.
Sodexo USA is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. The company delivers over 100 services across North America that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life.
Sodexo is a leading provider of sustainable, integrated facilities management and food service operations, employs 123,000 Americans at 12,500 sites across the country, and indirectly supports tens of thousands of additional U.S. jobs through its annual purchases of $9.2 billion in goods and services from American businesses.
The Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation has contributed close to $30 million over the past 20 years to help feed children in America impacted by hunger.
To learn more about Sodexo, visit www.sodexoinsights.com.