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Stop Hunger scholarships help students pursue dream careers

August 15, 2019


August 15, 2019 -- Burlington, ON – An Afghan refugee studying at Bow Valley College and an aspiring medical doctor at Queen’s University are the inaugural recipients of the Gina Gentleman Scholarships awarded by Sodexo Canada’s Stop Hunger Foundation. 

Calgary student Zalam Barakzie and Nicholas Hageman from Kingston were each recently awarded a $2,500 scholarship plus a $2,500 grant to donate to a local charity of their choice. 

Zalam Barakzieis a 27-year-old health sciences student at Bow Valley College (BVC). She also works at the Tim Hortons on campus. She and her family came to Canada in 2015 as refugees from Afghanistan. That same year, she began working for Sodexo. Zalam’s dream is to become a nurse to help improve the quality of life for patients. 

“I’m so happy and really appreciative of this scholarship from the Stop Hunger Foundation. This scholarship will allow me to continue my education and live my dream. I hope one day I will be able to help other students achieve their goals, just as you helped me through this scholarship,” says Zalam.

In addition to work and school, Zalam also volunteers at the Calgary Women’s Centre, the Calgary Drop-in and Rehab Centre and the Stop Hunger Feeding Our Future program. She’s donating her $2,500 grant to the Bow Valley College Food Insecurity Committee to help start a food bank for students. 

Nicholas Hagemanjust completed his second year of Life Sciences at Queen’s University. The 20-year-old plans to use his scholarship money for medical school. 

“I’m so proud of Nicholas. I know all the effort he puts in his studies and our community. We’re very grateful for this opportunity. We even called our family in Bussum in the Netherlands, to share the good news,” says proud dad Ed Hageman, a 34-year Sodexo employee who is First Cook at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre at Queen’s University.

Nicholas volunteers with a lunch program at a local church and delivers food to shelters through Loving Spoonful. He and his father plant trees at Lemoine Point Conservation area. Nicholas chose Food Banks Canada to donate his $2,500 grant. The funds covered the costs for 280 food packs for the Okotoks Food Bank in Alberta. The packs help nourish children during the summer months. 

“I’m impressed with our first ever Gina Gentleman scholarship recipients. They represent the diversity and dreams that contribute to Canadian talent. It’s an honour to support these ambitious students and their passion to create a better world for all of us,” says Suzanne Bergeron, Chair, Stop Hunger Foundation.

The Stop Hunger Foundation launched the scholarship program in 2018 to honour the memory of Gina Gentleman, a 41-year Sodexo employee who volunteered and inspired others to feed children in need. 

Sodexo in Canada

Sodexo has been delivering On-Site Services in Canada for over 40 years. Recognized as a strategic partner, Sodexo Canada is dedicated to providing Quality of Life Services for clients, their employees and visitors in the corporate, education, healthcare and energy and resources segments. These Quality of Life Services create healthy, safe, and efficient environments allowing individuals and organizations to grow and succeed. Delivering food and facilities management services for over 185 clients, Sodexo is a market leader in Canada in terms of revenue and consumers served and has been recognized as a top employer for the past six consecutive years.  Sodexo Canada is proud to have created the Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation, an independent charitable organization that has raised over $3 million to fight hunger and donated more than 1 million meals to at-risk youth across Canada since 2007. 

Sodexo in Canada

  • 13,000 employees
  • 100+ services
  • 185+ clients 
  • 220+ sites

Follow us on Twitter @SodexoCanada


For more information please contact:

Leslie Booth

Xposure PR

leslie@xposurepr.com / 416.427.1588 

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