FARMINGTON – Christopher Kinney, director of Aramark Dining Services at University of Maine at Farmington, recently was honored with a prestigious Jefferson Award from the American Institute for Public Service.
Kinney received this national distinction for his contributions through community service as a part of the “Aramark Building Community” event held at Fenway Park in Boston.
“We congratulate Chris on this remarkable honor,” said Theodora J. Kalikow, president of UMF. “His success is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished with the spirit of volunteerism and civic engagement.”
The Jefferson Awards were established as a Nobel Prize for public and community service. Given on both a national and local level, they are presented by the American Institute for Public Service, a foundation created in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft, Jr. and Sam Beard. National award recipients represent a “Who’s Who” of outstanding Americans. Award recipients on the local level are ordinary people who do extraordinary things without expectation of recognition or reward.
“I am very moved by this honor and proud of all the people I am involved with at UMF who value public service as a part of their daily practice,” Kinney said. “Community service benefits everyone. It’s very fulfilling to see the impact it can have on students as they develop the kind of leadership skills that encourage them to look beyond themselves and make a real difference in the community.”
Kinney has been an active partner with the University for three years, committing himself to service for the public good and promoting environmentally sustainable practices. He has worked with local social service agencies to provide holiday dinners and Toys for Tots, support the area effort to prevent violence against women, and help educate the public on the benefits of the use of local foods. He has also led the way among Aramark services nationwide in recycling waste cooking oil for biofuel; establishing a comprehensive recycling effort, resulting in the 2007 Maine Resource Recovery Association’s Composter of the Year award; and saving food and energy by creating a trayless cafeteria—an initiative that received media coverage across the country.
Following the Jefferson Award ceremony, Kinney joined fellow Aramark members in their community building public service event by helping to repair and revitalize the Elizabeth Peabody Home in Somerville, Mass., a resource dedicated to providing educational and recreational programs for area children. Kinney, a lifetime Maine resident, has worked with restaurant, hotel, resort and higher education food service outlets across the state.